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TV Reviews: "Life & Beth," "Better Things," "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty"

Hi. Hello. How are you? What are you binging lately? Here's what I've been watching while avoiding writing, and my thoughts- I'm not totally caught up on all the seasons- these are general thoughts, no real spoilers.

(Hulu) This enjoyable, often poignant, sometimes inconsistent Amy Schumer project also starring Michael Cera and Michael Rapaport (and new to me, the phenomenal Yamaneika Saunders and Susannah Flood) . It's written/produced by Schumer and I do believe she's exploring her relationship with her husband, who is on the Autism spectrum, with the romance central to the plot. That and the sister relationship ring the truest, as well as grieving the loss of a parent who left a lot of complicated baggage. Much of it is gorgeous. The small moments of reality- they really spend time with the feelings of the rural place they're in and the authentic emotions shared between the characters, the jokes are slow and simmering and well-earned- all of that is amazing...and reminds me of Schumer's friend Bridget Everett's show, 'Somebody Somewhere.' My only complaint is the ex boyfriend/fiance and job in the wine distribution industry- those are just jarring and never make much sense. Otherwise, love it and can't wait for season 2, where the kinks will likely be worked out and the patient honesty highlighted.

(Hulu) This show is wrapping its last season now, I believe. It started in 2016 and I've known for a long time I shoulda been watching it, but just started. Now I get it. Part of what kept me away is that it's created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K.....and as much as I love his writing, and her as a writer/comic actor, I wasn't sure I could support anything he was attached to (since accusations of sexual misconduct against a bunch of women came out in 2017). But here's how they handled it and he's not been involved with the show (nor his conspirators) since season 3. SO ANYWHO, this show makes me feel better as a parent. It's about a funny, loud, confident, sexy woman in her late 30s (who's been a successful actor since she was a kid) raising two girls and a nonbinary/trans boy. It's sharp, funny, sweet, and so fucking relatable. The intense feelings of adoration and resentment toward parenting are vivid, the inconsistent efforts, and escape into substances for relief... Pamela Adlon's "Sam" is amazing. She also holds boundaries like a MOFO, with men, with her mom, with her kids (mostly- that one's hardest) and I learn a lot watching her person. I'm only on Season 1, so if it all spins out in later seasons, I know not.

(HBO Max) Winning Time: the Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is set in the 70s/80s and the costumes are bonkers, the cast is fabulous, the writing is sharp, the production is goofy and fun, and it's very, very watchable. I'm watching it with my sports-fan spouse and he's loving it for all these reasons and because he knows the players involved, I'm watching it because it's stylish and funny AF and there's all kinds of pop culture stuff throughout- and between gaudy ridiculous extravagance there are real moments/real feelings- it toes the line well. ALSO, for an era and sport notoriously horrible to women, it actually does right by the women involved, I think. I keep being surprised by the perspective it takes, in a great way.


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