Grade: B+

“Too edgy? Too soon… Not soon enough?”

This is a fitting quote for the show. In this episode, there are plenty of bits that ride the line between satire, and taking part in what they’re satirizing. I think they pull it off but maybe that’s my bias of the show talking.

Here, Maria first takes a moment of pause on improving herself, and instead turns her efforts towards helping others, specifically one other: Josue, an orphan part of an organization Bruce is helping out. He wants to put on a benefit, and asks Maria to do stand-up. Of course, she freaks out. Kids don’t like her. She doesn’t know how to talk to them. At the slightest sign of resistance, her entire strategy to get along turns to making funny guttural noises (the kind you make to get a smile from a baby).

In The Past, Maria’s job as the spokesperson of (as we’re starting to see) the evil corporation, Checklist, gives her more responsibility: go to Mexico and help teach (more like enforce) speaking English for all the workers in the factory. Two workers hate her. They hate Checklist. They’re planning to form a union. She squashes it like a C movie villain, constantly asking, “What would Trabajito do?” Trabajito is a Mexican frog character the company came up with as a friendly face to enforce rules, which means next to the posters of Trabajito you see “No hablo ingles!” or “English Only Zone!” and the like.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.33.12 AM

All the Checklist workers in Mexico that laugh at Bamford’s jokes (that basically aren’t jokes) must be a commentary on the way white people win over other ethnic groups in movies by humour and happiness (if they try hard enough). Right? Otherwise it’s just Lady Dynamite weirdness?

In The Duluth, she loses a commercial job to her friend Susan (who she “betrayed” by befriending her husband, Paul) who originally directs and then directs and acts. It’s a tough one to watch.

Like usual, Maria cites both of these examples as reasons not to try something new (anyone seeing a pattern in these last few episodes?) At least the flashbacks to both periods are forming full pictures like I thought they might last episode.

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Back in the present, Josue, at first prickly,  really helps her. They get along well. They speak like adults. It’s a good week for her. At the benefit, she bombs during her set. She knew her jokes wouldn’t go over with the only kind of crowd that would boo at a benefit (kids), but she did it anyway, because she had to believe in herself.

Despite retreading ground, this was a pleasure to watch and Bamford’s character acting has only gotten better as series has progressed. The satire on this show is also very sharp, and so packed that I know I miss a lot of it.

Still, I think for this show to rise to the expectations its set for itself, more has to happen from now on in Bamford conquering (or losing to) her illness.

Note: Bruce might be slipping in to his own depression.

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Some Bits I Liked:

  • “What’s up with her?” “She’s fucked up.” “What about him?” “He’s a male prostitute.”
  • “Six-inch vegetarian won’t even wake me up in the morning!”
  • “This is Spanish. The devil papers.”
  • “So say you all?”
  • Bamford’s mom irons sandwiches as craft services
  • “Steady hands, Josue. Very nice.”
  • I don’t think anyone mentions it, but the benefit’s called “Touch The Children”. Really?
  • “Sweet monkey grape.”

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