Barry: Series Review

Bill Hader Knocks It Out of the Park With New HBO Comedy

Miles Goldman, Administrator

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When I first heard that Bill Hader was cast in as the lead role in an HBO series, I was super hyped. HBO, in my opinion, has the best track record in terms of consistent TV shows. The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Eastbound & Down, Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Crashing are all among my favorite shows of all time.

The official poster for the series

Bill Hader is one of the funniest people on the planet. Known for his iconic role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live, he is always hysterical in films like Hot Rod, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Tropic Thunder.

Bill Hader as the title role

Barry, though is a new type of role for Hader. Rather than being an overly comical character, Barry is a more conserved, broken-down character with a mysterious past. There has only been three episodes thus far, and as a viewer you are learning more and more pieces of information about Barry. Although I was upset after watching the first episode when I realized that Hader wasn’t playing his usual overly-comedic role, I soon changed my opinion as I admire him for taking such a risk. He even directed the first three episodes, and helped write and create the show.

Hader coming out of his shell at the acting class

The plot of the series is very “out there” yet a completely original take. Barry follows Hader as Barry Berkman, an ex-marine who works as a hitman in the Midwest. Berkman doesn’t enjoy his job, but he excels at is as he developed a handful of skills when he was a marine. After being sent to Los Angeles to kill a man who had been sleeping with someone’s wife, Berkman follows his target to an acting class, and soon falls in love with acting.

Henry Winkler plays Gene Cousineau, the head of the acting class. Barry witnesses Cousineau’s drive and motivation, and soon looks to him as a role model.

Barry memorizing his lines for the acting class, with the help from his mentor Gene (played by Henry Winkler)

The series has the ability to take a number of different routes. In my opinion, the series should focus more on Barry letting go of his hitman life and focusing on becoming an actor. This storyline has the potential for the most comedy. If the series stays in the direction of Barry focusing on being a hitman, I would be a little disappointed, mainly because I want less drama and more comedy.

Senior Andy Bach stated that “the series has a lot of potential” and “will definitely be a hit.”

Senior Dominic Vitiello said “I’ll watch anything with Hader. He’s my favorite comedian. I was a bit surprised by the tone of the first episode, but I assume Hader will start to break out of his shell as the series goes on.”

As a whole, I would give the series premiere an 8.5 out of 10, as I was entertained and am definitely going to keep watching.