Making it look easy on ‘Dif­fi­cult Peo­ple’

Real-Life-Julie and TV-Julie part ways in many re­spects

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE

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.’’

AP PHOTO

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.

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