Making it look easy on ‘Difficult People’
Real-Life-Julie and TV-Julie part ways in many respects
Perhaps no show in TV history ever had a title that was better suited to it: “Difficult People.’’
In this Hulu comedy, 30-something best friends Julie and Billy form a pushy, shameless united front as they wage war with New York and the world of show business they half-heartedly are trying to break into.
The upshot for viewers as they feast on this screwball, cringey series’ third season (which premieres Tuesday): Their difficulty not busting a gut.
“Difficult People’’ flings snark at Woody Allen, David Blaine, Passover, unhinged subway riders, a government initiative to “deprogram’’ gays and Alcoholics Anonymous.
It finds Julie and Billy ducking into a church sanctuary to charge their phones but, when she finds no outlet there, blurting out indignantly, “What is this place good for?’’
The show spoofs drug advertising with its commercial for Ridshadovan, an antidepressant that personifies depression as a sour, cronish woman who stalks the sufferer (including Julie, who finds this TV sourpuss actually stalking her).
The difficult duo of “Difficult People’’ are portrayed by Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner, with the jams they get into flowing from the mind of Klausner, who also created and writes the show.
“It’s a love story,’’ she says. Granted, Julie lives with an eversubmissive partner (played by James Urbaniak, one among the series’ splendid troupe). Billy, a gay man, looks elsewhere for his flings.
But Billy and Julie share a transcendent bond.
“The fact that we are so loyal to each other buys us a lot of real estate in the Being Horrible Department,’’ Klausner says.
So it’s them against the world, armed with rat-a-tat, pop-culture-powered dialogue that spares nothing and no one. (“Ever since President Trump replaced the Department of Health with Jenny McCarthy’s blog,’’ says Billy, “nothing makes sense.’’)
“One of the most romantic things of all is finding someone you can hate everything else with,’’ Klausner notes. “There’s definitely a lot of opinions expressed by these characters.’’ And a lot of agreement: They harmonize in stirring up their chaos.
The real-life team of Klausner and Eichner first joined forces on “Billy on the Street,’’ the breathless sidewalk quiz show for which she served as a producer. Its off-the-cuff style and pop-culture frenzy is akin to the meticulously scripted “Difficult People’’ she would mastermind soon after.
“I spent more time with TV and movies than I did playing outside with people my age, the way healthy children are supposed to do,’’ says Klausner, explaining her store of knowledge. “Popular culture is the language I speak. And Billy speaks it too.’’
In this image released by Hulu, Julie Klausner, left, and Andrea Martin appear in the series, “Difficult People.” The Hulu comedy is packed with popculture references, befitting Klausner’s life-long passion for TV and movies.