The defining work of the pandemic
One comedy special summed up a year and a half perfectly
And we’re back! Thanks everyone for sticking around during my parental leave. Onto the news…
What to know
Sam Esmail and Palm Springs writer Andy Siara’s comedic mystery series The Resort lands at Peacock … Peacock is becoming a more interesting platform by the day — but it’s unclear yet if it’s actually competitive with the big dogs. Should the rumored Viacom-Universal merger actually happen, a Paramount+/Peacock combo service would definitely be a stronger sell. Anyway, I’d watch anything from these two creators let alone a collaboration, so I guess I have to get on Peacock eventually. 🦚
Seth Rogen’s animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie due 2023 … cowabunga! 🐢
Taylor Swift is joining Margot Robbie and Anya Taylor-Joy in David O. Russell’s upcoming film … so that Cats isn’t her only credit? 😸
Indiana Jones 5 goes in front of the cameras this week … I must have missed Indy 4 🤔
Jonathan Majors eyed for Creed 3 … Majors is everywhere! 🥊
Dropping this week:
We Are Lady Parts s1 — June 3 on Peacock | Girl band comedy series | 100% RT
Sweet Tooth s1 — June 4 on Netflix | Fantasy drama series | 100% RT
Lisey’s Story s1 — June 4 on Netflix | Thriller drama series | 53% RT
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — June 4 on HBO Max & in theaters | Horror film | 66% RT
The 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors — June 6 at 9 PM on CBS | Award show
What to watch
You’ll be hard pressed to find something as creative, soul-bearing, and sardonic as Bo Burnham’s new “comedy” special Inside, now on Netflix. I put comedy in quotes because while it’s often very funny, it’s also tragic, introspective, and thought-provoking. The basic conceit is that Burnham created a new musical comedy special over the course of the pandemic inside one room. Not only is it the special itself, including comedic songs, sad songs, etc — but it is also a documentary style confessional of making the thing itself. It also might just be the defining work of the pandemic and beyond.
The singular room setting harkens back to Burnham’s early YouTube days behind the keyboard in his bedroom, but it also fully embraces the next logical step in his progression as an artist willing to expose everything, everyone, and himself. Bo proves that restraints (in this case the one room) can lead to massive creativity. The amount of beautiful, evocative cinematography and clever special effects he achieves through lighting, camera, projection, editing, and sound is downright impressive.
And then there’s the content itself. Bo Burnham’s career took a turning point with “Art Is Dead,” the 14th song of his 2010 special Words, Words, Words. With “Art Is Dead” Burnham started to evolve from musical comedian ripping off Stephen Lynch to an artist all his own, looking to topple and confront the very systems that led him to success and fame. Inside is an examination of social isolation—not just the obvious pandemic isolation that forced us all apart—but the isolation that’s been creeping in for 30 years due to the internet. Social media, misinformation, alienation and how it wreaks havoc on our psyches is all fair game for Bo. He’s clearly been obsessed with these issues for years (see Eighth Grade, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, Make Happy) but here he honestly and vulnerably turns it on himself and that’s where Inside will really punch you in the gut — and make you cry laughing. It’s quite an achievement.
For all past ‘what to watch’ recommendations, see the full list here!