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Top reviews from the United States
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As a Christopher Guest fan, I was fairly certain that I would like this show and I did. The usual ensemble cast of actors that Guest uses were almost all there (with the exception of Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy). I find Guest's dry humor extremely entertaining and am very disappointed that the show was not renewed for a second season. I read some reviews that said they found the monkey distracting and irritating, but I for one thought he added a bit of weird humor typical of Guest. Christopher Guest is an acquired taste and I suppose he is not for everybody,. but compared to the tired and obvious humor which seems to proliferate T.V. these days, he is a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I forget the pond life that most T.V. show must appeal to in order to stay on the air.
Too bad they cancelled such a genuine and clever look at family dynamics. I wish another network (ahem... Amazon) would pick up where the "short sighted" have left off. Chris O'Dowd is AWESOME as usual. Bea Chadwick and Monk are hilariously addressing life issues. Again...too bad it's over =(
So well done. I loved all of the genealogy road show, genealogy searches, family tree research content, which I have observed in my own family life, and in my husband's (who is a huge fan of Ancestry.com and all the other websites, books and tv shows). I loved that it spoofed these, but also honored them in a humorous, quiet way, but I still laughed out loud with every episode. Each character was authentically believable, and naturally, as we all are, a bit flawed. Loved the cross cultural content, expertly done; the strong character connections over comedy, tv shows, theatre, Native Americans, English, Irish, American and Jewish ancestry; all incredible funny and relevant and accessible to so many of us. Well written, cast, directed, and produced! This show could have run for many many more seasons, not sure why it didn't? Maybe too subtle, with Americans struggling to understand accents, and not getting the underlying point of it. I appreciated all of it. Each and Every episode. Give it a try and let us know what you think!! Love from your Irish American Mojave Jewish English cousin. xoxox
This is a sweet and awkward show that is slow and endearing.
Chris O'Dowd is funny, but he comes off as deadpan sincere even in strange situations. I appreciate that his character always accepts those around him and is never mean or cruel to them. It is an easy character to enjoy since he is never cruel.
This has a drastically different tone than most of what Chris O'Dowd is known for but it is a nice look at a man discovering himself and his family despite the world around him.
I actually think I already wrote a review for this wonderfully brilliant, hysterical show, so this may well be an addendum. The sole reason I left the 5th star unchecked is because I felt Amy Seimetz as Ally was miscast in a crucial role, and that's the ONLY reason. She's been truly wonderful in other things, especially AMC's "The Killing", but I felt she did not fit the bill as Tom's (the amazing Chris O'Dowd's) ultimate juicy romantic love interest ... the one he may, or may not, have ended up with ... we'll sadly never know. Both of his Kooky dates; one with the "bones" ... I mean "so much bone", and the dinosaur lady, where far more appealing and interesting to me, though, of course, a tad crazy.
As for the rest ... Brilliant! Chris O'Dowd is such a wonderful actor and so so likeable here ... the solid center of the show. Nina Conti, what can I say; So lovely and funny and moving and believable and simply wonderful. Michael McKean is a genius; so real so brilliant so British. Tom Bennett is a great physical comedian and sidekick. Everybody! Christoper Guest is again as wonderful an actor as auteur. Ed Begley, Jr!
This was an hysterical, laugh till your sides split, creatively intelligent, and intelligently creative show ... too much so for it's own good? .
I am a big Christopher Guest fan, this kind of humor JUST my cup of tea, celebrating people's good faith efforts to figure things out and roll with life's punches, while cutting each other considerable slack with our respective lunacies. There are SO many priceless characters here, I really think this is the most incisive, inspired work of Guest's career (and the most subtle, not a "mockumentary" per se, the characterizations more finely drawn, the characters well-meaning, caring and lovable- quite real). As a bi-cultural sort, Guest is ideally qualified/situated to gently lampoon both Americans and Brits, lots of cross-cultural humor to explore.
For some reason I got the impression and couldn't shake it that Monk/Monkey, the puppet (adept at online chat among other things!) is channeling Joan Plowright! What a great character, and choice lines, along with so many others: lackadaisical, tres HIP Native Americans, dutiful Civil War re-enactors- actually, EVERYONE interesting and revealing of human nature. And even tongue-in-cheek programs the characters watch on their OWN TVs (referencing Star Trek, Dr. Who, Benny Hill, Sherlock Holmes, and more)- circular self-reference elevated to an art form, like an Escher painting, brilliant, revealing, priceless. I'm so disappointed HBO canceled the series, for one thing, Guest does an absolutely SPLENDID job of lovingly parodying the British- more incisive, canny characterizations of what makes them both hilarious and dear I've never seen.
But everyone is great, from Ed Begley Jr.'s earnest, deadpan delivery as a conspiracy theorist seeing patterns everywhere, to Tom's ever-crude but eternally plucky best friend Pete, to Tom himself, the wonderful Irish actor Chris O'Dowd (who played Kristen Wiig's love interest in
). Here's he's the glue that ties it all together, seeking his roots, excited about possibilities, endlessly patient, with hidden depths and surprising facets- Everyman, and we're rooting for him. I watched the entire season in one sitting, I want MORE. Twould be nice if HBO brought it back. If we're lucky perhaps Guest & Co. are working behind the scenes to bring the show to another venue.