Season 2: Consistently solid I like it but don't love it (SPOILERS)
When I watched the first season of this show I was a little disappointed by how solid and consistent it was, since I had been led to believe that the show was the peak of comedy gold. I still enjoyed it enough to come back for the second season though. This second batch of episodes seems a bit more assured about what it is about in terms of tone and content but generally it keeps the same relaxed tone. I think part of my lack of love for it is down to me because I do keep hoping it is sharper and faster than it is, but actually the show has quite a relaxed pace to it.
We stay with the show format and it is cleverly done to mix fiction and reality together by using different cameras with a different look to the film, using real guests within the context of this fictional chat show etc. I like the structure a great deal and generally the plots are pretty good albeit that they rarely feel like the episode is filled to bursting point; again the relaxed feel it has. In moments it has brilliance and there are lots of great lines in here particularly from Artie and Hank, who dominate the show. In terms of the other characters there seems to be a bit of house cleaning as some of the characters are removed while others just appear to stop showing up each week; the season ends with a real house-clean so we'll see where that goes in the third.
And I will see, because the show is solidly enjoyable enough for me to keep watching it partly for what it does well but also, if I'm honest, in the hope for the areas I think it could have been stronger (or to my taste I suppose). Shandling himself remains a problem for me as I really don't like his character he seems constantly tired of it all in a way that the material doesn't back up, he also usually seems like a plot device for others around him rather than a lead character. Tambor and Torn remain great, while Johnson does good work too not sure why Piven and Garofalo both seem to drop off for the second half of the season, but at least with Piven it is scripted.
Overall this second season improves on the first but not hugely. It remains strong in certain areas and is enjoyable for its consistent acerbic tone and sharp dialogue; it doesn't deliver regular big laughs but yet it remains funny in its own way. I continue to like it but I'm still not sure where the love is.
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