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If the protagonist becomes despicable

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If the protagonist becomes despicable

Another great series of recent years has come to an end, of which unfortunately in Italy it is only possible to see the first two seasons on NOW. And, while the fourth and last is underway in the United States, the third has not yet arrived in Italy.

It’s a big shame because Barry it’s a dramedy slap: over time he has refined a peculiar aesthetic, which recalls the Coen brothers for the way in which he blends the dramatic, the black comedy, the grotesque and the absurdism, but it stands out for the deepening of the characters, for the sophisticated way in which it keeps comic and dramatic elements intertwined but separated, and in general for a deeper and more disturbing sense of menace. Often the series soften over the years, but here the tone becomes progressively darker. The protagonist Barry (played by one of the creators of the series, the comedian Bill Hader) is a former marine turned assassin for hire, who by pure chance enters an acting class and falls in love with the theater and a classmate. Barry is a bad actor, but in acting he rediscovers a human being with feelings, which he had completely forgotten, and tries to change professions.

But from the third season his maturation path is reversed, Barry is sucked back not so much (or not only) by the weight of his past, but by his own psychopathy. What seemed like a redemption arc backfires in a descent into hell, and the character we were growing fond of gradually transforms into the antagonist, a road that few other series, in addition to Breaking bad, they dared. The protagonist is flanked by equally complex secondary characters: Gene Cousineau (an always magnificent Henry Winkler), vain acting teacher; the actress Sally (Sarah Goldberg, also exceptional), Barry’s companion devoured by the monster of fame; Chechen mobster NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan), kind criminal with a love story homosexual. Each of them has a sophisticated and interesting evolution.

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Hader, creator, screenwriter, performer in this last season directs all eight episodes, showing truly remarkable inventiveness and stylistic growth in general.

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Alec Berg, Bill Hader

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