Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Alan Ball made a name with "Six Feet Under", a brilliant series which aired on HBO some 15 years ago.

Now HBO is offering his "Here and Now", the saga of a liberal household in Oregon, the state of ferns, weed, and arts and crafts. The story about a family with three adopted children (from Somalia, Vietnam and Colombia) and one of their own feels totally artificial. Everybody is a cliche, activated by various forms of neurosis which makes them almost unbearable to watch. The well-meaning Muslims, the gay couple on testosterone, the racial hurt, the "performing" Asian, the parents terribles, make for a brew that is heavier than a Belgian beer.

The worse part is the well-meaning embrace of this "family" locked-up in nonstop cartoonish statements. Everything is game:  Trump's Gotterdamerung, the labor of love, black resentment, white defensive postures, and the unreliability of sex.  It could be French if it were more cynical. It is not, unfortunately.  There are more better intentions and political correctness than there are vitamins in any CVS.  Some Eugene O'Neil -like attempts at statements about the larger world sound ridiculous because they are out of place in what is just a boring soap.  Drama seldom rides a bicycle...but in Italy.

This hybrid is catnip for Republicans and the right in general. They must relish seeing these boring liberals lost in pretentious soliloquies, angst and uxorious boredom. Their liberal, well-meaning tolerance becomes a luke unappealing dish as if Alan Ball ran out of inspiration and was afraid to admit it.

Hell is paved with good intentions. Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter (insufferable) had better skip the next Emmys.

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