“Enter the Super Grisham”
“Life. What a kick in the pants!”
Here we are, at the finale. I had no idea what to expect from Lady Dynamite the moment it began. The way the premiere ends, with Mulaney handing Bamford a gun to shoot up her own project, a public bench, wasn’t the way I expected any story to begin or end.
This season consistently veered away from traditional storylines to provide Bamford with enough space to do her absurdist, dynamic comedy.
A few episodes ago I wrote that I knew this show was successful when it made me feel for both Bamford and Bert the Pug. I stand by that. These final three episodes have been heartbreakers, and its given the series some necessary weight. As Bamford struggles for control over her illness, she also struggles to regain her career, and her relationships. This show seems like it could be any generic sitcom when you look at it in such broad strokes as those, but after watching 12 episodes, it’s clear it’s not. It’s something much more than generic. Few times before have I seen a comedy with such a clear voice, buoyed by a marriage between two creative minds that, alone, would still stand tall (Mitch Hurwitz and Pam Brady).
In this final episode, we get the same mix we always have: The Present, The Past, and The Duluth, each tied by some theme or personal struggle Bamford faces.
In the cold open, Bamford breaks Bruce’s arms. The two of them are at the gym in an attempt to sweat away their problems (Bamford remains broken up with Scott.) Soon after, Scott meets with Lala and Dagmar to see if they can help him win Bamford back. They give him conflicting advice until Lala concedes to Dagmar’s and she just mouths the words behind her. Scott visits Bamford’s place late at night, but only finds Bert, who, after insulting him and taking one of the gifts he brought, closes the door. Bamford’s there, in the shadows, waiting for Bert. Despite the mean face Bert put on to deter Scott, he knows Scott cares for her, and wonders why Bamford has to separate herself from those she loves. All in all, she believes those that she loves always leave, so why try here?
In the Duluth, she loses Bert, only to find him at an animal shelter. He followed a “lady pug” he liked and saw life in a cage as worth it. Bamford buys back both Bert and the lady pug, who Bert names Blueberry.
Back in the present, she does a commercial for a herpes medication, but finds her fellow actor in trouble. She keeps reminding him of his ex-girlfriend. It’s Bamford’s chance to do some good here, maybe successfully for once. Maybe this has been where the season’s been heading all this time. Instead, the two come to a realization that Bamford “must go to him!” Him, in this case, is Scott.
In the Past we get our Mark McGrath origin story! Haven’t heard about him since episode one. At the time, we had no idea why they had such a history… now we do. It comes by way of world class agent Karen Grisham. Blossom’s funeral is filled with people, even Robert Downey Jr., who was Blossom’s sponsor for addiction. Who knew? Who else is at the funeral, you ask? The other Karen Grishams! World class realtor Karen Grisham and (from the future) life coach Karen Grisham! When all three Grishams touch, they become Super Grisham, a ginger guinea pig. It’s Super Grisham that pushes Bamford to go to a Checklist event, deal with Mark McGrath, and take down Checklist itself, “the evil corporation that killed Blossom.” Oh and does she ever. She gets the chance to speak at the event, in front of both the founder of the company, and Mark McGrath. She spells out the evil for everyone, and then McGrath reveals his true form… some sort of… sugar cube… cone… silver man? Bamford’s “true form” is a kind of Power Rangers version of herself. They fight it out like a true boss battle.
Sadly, all this is in her head. She did go to the event, and she did confront Checklist, but she hallucinated the boss battle. In reality, McGrath was extremely kind as he tried to gently herd her off stage.
We get a quick cut to The Duluth, where she’s in the hospital. It’s the three Grishams that sent her over the edge after all. I am not surprised. Their manic attitudes were always the cause of Bamford’s worst stresses.
Bamford, in the present, remembers all of this, and decides that this time she can’t just give up. She has to see Scott. “I’m gonna fuck Scott!” She squeals, pedalling down suburban avenues, passing through space and time.
To get his attention, she turns off the power, reminiscent of the way they met. “This is a huge romantic gesture, like all those Nora Ephron movies!” That’s right, Bamford, and you nailed it.
The two make up, and although we’re not even given a guess as to what the future may hold, two Bamfords bike through the middle of the sky, and then merge. Symbolic of her gaining control of her Bipolar II? I think soooo. Nice job, Lady Dynamite team.
Note: I need this renewed, but if it’s not, I understand. I think the fact that this is on Netflix and not on television will help its chances.
Some Bits I Liked:
- “Speaking of herpes, I’ve noticed that chick over there is really checkin’ me out.”
- Longer intro! Corn!
- Scott’s glance at his knuckles after Dagmar says, “Look, fuck-knuckles.” is right on.
- Bert: “It’s late, Scott, and she doesn’t want to see your fucking garbage face.” Bert is my favourite character, sorry Bamford.
- Maria wears her Duluth zip-up in the scene where Scott tries to come over. Nice touch by whoever thought of that.
- “Blossom!” “That’s right. Take a seat, bitch.”
- “Toot. Toot!”
- Bert’s Jewish?
- Love the nurses who give us all the necessary explanation, and a great McGrath joke.
- I don’t know what I’m doin’… more than half of the time.”