Episodes

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Tues­day, 9pm, Nine Episodes is a bit like Smash with less raz­za­matazz. Both pro­grams are about putting on a show. In Smash, the pro­duc­ers strive to cre­ate a Broad­way mu­si­cal about Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. In Episodes, mar­ried English cou­ple Sean and Bev­erly Lin­coln (Stephen Man­gan and Tam­sin Greig) are per­suaded to move to Hol­ly­wood to re­make their BAFTAw­in­ning sit­com, Lyman’s Boys, for an Amer­i­can au­di­ence. They are pres­sured by the net­work into cast­ing Matt LeBlanc in the lead role for the sit­com, and they are not happy about it, even though they are charmed by LeBlanc’s frank and sur­pris­ing in­no­cence. And that’s about it. The hu­mour, such as it is, is gen­er­ated by Sean and Bev­erly’s ter­ri­bly British re­ac­tions to al­most ev­ery­thing Hol­ly­wood, in­clud­ing the per­sonal lives, kooky re­la­tion­ships and neu­rotic fetishes of peo­ple with too much money and not enough taste. In tonight’s fifth episode, the pair try to look and sound ex­cited about a fa­mous stalker who has turned up, again, in Matt’s life. ‘‘ She’s the girl next door, if you live on crazy street,’’ Matt says of his stalker. Sean thinks she’s ter­rific. Bev­erly thinks she’s men­tal. They dis­agree quite of­ten, you see, and that’s also a dy­namic in the show. Is the Amer­i­can en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try driv­ing them apart? I sup­pose Episodes is a rung above Two and a Half Men and Anger Man­age­ment in that it’s not al­ways smutty and it’s not al­ways puerile. It’s just a pity it’s not al­ways funny.

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