Fantastic!!! I loved this show. One of the things I liked most was the mix of British and American humor. It wasn’t sure if that was going to work at first and come across as forced but it was very natural and hilarious and I completely enjoyed it.
Episodes is about a married British writing team, Sean and Beverly Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangin and Tamsin Greig) who have a smash hit series in the UK called Lyman’s Boys. They are approached by a huge Hollywood network producer named Merck Lapidus (played by John Pankow) who loves their show…”I want to have sex with your show” he tells them. He wants to bring their show to the US and he has a few time slots to put them in. He wants the show exactly as is so it should be pretty turn-key. He offers them a house, a car, everything to come to L.A. They debate the idea and finally decide to take the chance.
They arrive in L.A. and the house they are renting is in a very exclusive gated community. So exclusive their names aren’t on the list and Wendell the guard won’t let them in. They manage to overcome that obstacle and arrive at their house which is enormous and very Hollywood. Once they get settled in, the go to Lapidus’ offices to meet with Merck only to find out from his second in command, Carol Rance, that he isn’t there. So Carol introduces them to Andy, who is charge of casting and Myra, who is in charge of comedy and has the personality of a wet noodle. When casting comes up and Sean and Beverly mention that Julian Bullard (played by Richard Griffiths) has already agreed to re-create the role of Lyman in the US, Carol is thrilled but wants him in L.A. ASAP for an audition. When S&B can’t figure out why the cornerstone of the show Merck loves would have to audition, they explain that Merck has never seen their show. S&B are dumbfounded. Carol and Andy gush over how much they LOVE the show and Myra says in a very monotone voice, “it’s really funny.” Beverly’s facial expressions towards Myra every time she speaks are priceless!! S&B can’t understand how he hasn’t seen the show and also why Julian would have to fly over to audition when Merck can just watch tapes of the show. Carol explains that no one gets through without auditioning in front of Merck and that even though there is plenty of tape with Julian in the role, Merck doesn’t like to watch TV!!!! Fantastic!!!! Carol (played by Kathleen Rose Perkins) is trying very hard to be complimentary and gushing over these 2 new writers that Merck has signed on but yet you can tell she has been in this situation before with Merck and other writers and show runners. She’s great. But you can tell that S&B are pissed. And to top it all off, when Carol tries to sell them on the fact that when Merck sees Julian live and love him, because he will, they are pretty much guaranteed to be on the air! Sean tells her Merck already told him they were guaranteed to be on the air and Carol says “absolutely!! But you know nothing’s in stone.” Sean then tells her Merck said this was in stone. Carol replies “it is!!! But you know.” It’s a wonderful back and forth and you see where Carol’s team is coming from cleaning up for Merck because it seems he does this all the time but at the same time, you completely side with S&B in their frustration, disappointment, and utter confusion at what the hell is going on.
Julian comes to audition and at first I thought he was going to be very stuck up due to his acting background they alluded to earlier. But he is incredibly sweet and puts S&B at ease reminding them that he has been in the business for years and this is how it goes. He goes in and kills the audition. Everyone is laughing and everyone loves him. Then Merck reveals that he thinks he comes off as too British. ”Maybe because he is British” Beverly reminds him. And Merck says they are doing an American version of the show, he just sounds too much like a butler. So S&B go out and ask Julian to do the part again but this time in an American accent. He has no problem with that request. Except this time when he goes in, he can’t pin point what type of American accent he wants to do and all the jokes fall flat and he looks terrible because he can’t pull off the accent or stick with it. So bye-bye Julian in the role of Lyman.
S&B are back at the rotating reality show house, a.k.a home, drinking some MacCallen’s and wondering what the hell just happened. They are angry, annoyed, and again, utterly confused. Just then Carol calls with an idea and asks them to keep their minds open. A HUGE star has just become available and really wants to get back into TV and Merck thinks he will be perfect for the part of Lyman. S&B are curious and they ask who it is. Matt..LeBlanc Carol tells them. Complete and utter silence on both ends and fade to black. Awesome!!!
Who ever cast this show did an amazing job. S&B come off as extremely likable and funny and very much in love with each other. Merck and crew are really enjoyable and Carol has had some great lines and moments already. They all play off each other really well. I am anxious to see Matt LeBlanc when he joins the cast next week to see how he blends with everyone else. Plus it gives us the comedic behind the scenes telling of how a show gets put together and broadcast. What TV fan doesn’t love that?
I highly recommend checking out Episodes. Sunday nights on Showtime at 9:30 EST.