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New Netflix show might be its biggest ever
And the Netflix romantic comedy you should also watch
What to know
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos says The Squid Game could be the platform’s biggest show ever… If you’re not familiar with The Squid Game, it’s a Korean drama/thriller series about a mysterious, twisted, and lethal game that tests the limits of people in dire straits. Also, if you’re not familiar, get familiar because it’s becoming the zeitgeist show very quickly. It’s not surprising to me that this subject matter would resonate with people, but I continue to be impressed with how Netflix has popularized international TV with American audiences. It was practically taboo to see subtitles on TV just 15 years ago. Netflix has completely changed that — for the better. 🦑
Real phone number used in Squid Game gets thousands of prank calls… Meanwhile, being a massive hit comes with some consequences. A phone number featured in the show unfortunately belongs to a real person who has now been inundated with prank calls. Hopefully Netflix can resolve this soon 📞
Longtime SNL director Don Roy King retiring… King has been at the helm since 2006, has won 11 Emmys for his work, and is said to be the person who has directed more hours of live TV than anyone else in the U.S. Quite a legacy! He’ll be replaced by The Ellen DeGeneres Show director Liz Patrick. 🎬
Donkey Kong expansion coming to Super Mario World theme park land at Universal Studios Japan… somebody get Seth Rogen’s agent on the phone 🦍
For more pop culture news, discussion, and what-to-watch recommendations subscribe to my pals over on the Kickball Friends podcast. 🎙
Dropping this week:
The Problem With Jon Stewart — Sept 30 Apple TV+ news comedy series | 🍅
Venom: Let There Be Carnage — Oct 1 in theaters comic book movie | 🍅
The Many Saints of Newark — Oct 1 theaters & HBO Max drama film | 🍅 76%
The Guilty — Oct 1 Netflix thriller film | 🍅 70%
LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales — Oct 1 Disney+ animated movie
Saturday Night Live season 47 premiere — Oct 2 NBC sketch comedy
What to watch
HBO’s Girls is not a universally beloved show. Lena Dunham’s 2010s series has its fans and many detractors — but what is indisputable is how influential it has been on the current TV comedy landscape. Dunham, Jenni Konner, and Judd Apatow essentially invented a genre that turned the sitcom into an auteur-driven indie exploration of modern life as a young person. Girls is the progenitor to Fleabag, Atlanta, I May Destroy You, Dave, Crashing, Ramy, I Hate Suzie and even more shows I’m not remembering at the moment. And it’s certainly the godmother to today’s recommendation: Channel 4 and Netflix’s Feel Good.
Written by and starring Canadian comedian Mae Martin, Feel Good is a thoughtful, hilarious, and at-times gut-wrenching exploration of queer love, addiction, and finding yourself. Like the aforementioned shows, Martin channels their razor sharp world view and unique life story into a beautiful series that achieves relatability through the specific. With astounding honesty, Martin shows what it’s like to be a recovering addict and deal with horrific trauma, all while trying to make a relationship work and succeed as a fledgling comedian in London. Martin is only 34 but the wisdom on display in just 12 half-hour episodes is that of someone well beyond their years.
It’s remarkable that this show is flying under the radar because it features a smash supporting performance by Lisa Kudrow. Ever heard of her? It’s also got a career-defining turn for John Ross Bowie and makes a star out of Martin’s romantic co-lead Charlotte Ritchie. And speaking of the romance, The Kissing Booths and To All the Boys of the world are nice — but this is the actual 2021 answer to the romantic comedy. It just happens to be 6 hours long. Feel Good has all the romantic comedy trappings but then elevates the genre with its exceptional, humanistic depth.
It’s ironic that Girls got dinged so often for having a narrow worldview, considering it begat so many diverse perspectives. Feel Good is another extremely worthy evolution of the form Dunham, Konner, and Apatow gave us — don’t sleep on it.