Lady Dynamite Review: Goof Around Gang (Season 2 Episode 3)

Scott starts his comedy career without much effort and to great success, and we see how Maria got the acting bug.

Lady Dynamite Season 2 Episode 3 explores growth through communication and support, unintended consequences, the pain of the truth, and hive queens. It sounds hectic but it works.

Maybe You Don’t Want This Bug

The purpose of the Duluth timeline scenes is clearly for juxtaposition. There was some doubt about that with the first two episodes but no longer. The juxtaposition of situations Maria faced as the victim like getting used in her parent’s marital issues or being treated like dirt by her friend Susan with Maria in the present engaged in similar situations but as the offender is brilliant. There’s some variation developing though. Earlier in the season, these types of juxtapositions were specifically about directly negative things   It’s said that people turn into the parents at some point. Whether this is an aspect of nature or nurture isn’Juxtaposition of Maria and her mother as encouraging people to pursue show business

I’d also like to point out that there is an excellent micro-moment here where Marilyn inadvertently promotes Maria to do standup after she makes a bad joke about lighting rigs and her self-esteem.

We also see the birth of Maria’s mental health issues. There’s vagueness about whether her parent’s marital issues are a cause. Up until this point, the past segments centered in Maria’s formative years have been devoid of any hint of the wacky aspects of the more recent timelines. The idea that mental illness does not necessarily show up at birth, that it can make itself known later in life if certain conditions are met is a healthier way of presenting the universality of the issue. And it doesn’t have to be said explicitly. When the Acting Bug shows up during Maria’s solo it may at first seem normal considering the other surrealist aspects of the show, but after a second thought, it becomes clear this is the start of something. The show understands that showing can tell better than telling, while direct fourth wall breaks are funny, compelling visual storytelling is a more effective way of reaching an audience. As Maria says to Scott later in the episode, she has a deep sense of obligation for the enjoyment of the audience as an entertainer.

Comedians Dating in Bowling Alleys

Scott starts to do comedy and does so well doing nothing that it throws Maria off.  This is a problem of her own creation. While she’s trying to navigate dealing with her friend and assistant Larissa she is accused of being a bad friend due to her new relationship. That’s an accusation that few take without some protest or internal reflection. Maria, in her rush, overcompensated, convincing a reluctant Scott to do stand up and hoping that by forcing everyone together she can fix the problem without having to miss time with anyone. Maria seems to have forgotten her lesson about having cake and eating it.

 

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Maria has trouble doing “the whole friend boyfriend balance”. But through open communication we see Maria reaffirm a meaningful relationship with Dagmar (shout out to Bridget Everett for being so dang endearing.) Her only sincere friend in the series. And she opens up to Scott about her issues with his easy success with positive results for their relationship. Scott has the clearness of sight to know his act is a gimmick and the ability to see that what Maria does is so much more difficult. Humility precedes growth and being honest is the only way to humility. It may seem like a beat that’s been done already, but I think that it matches with the show. The work of bettering yourself is continuous and people will find themselves practicing the same lesson over and over again. And while we often think of honesty as an easy skill, it needs to be practiced just like everything else.   

At the same time, honesty can also hurt. Thanks to the particular quirk of a karaoke bowling alley Scott and Maria find themselves in a hot mic situation where we find out exactly how they feel. Scott burns some bridges with his comedy crew, the eponymous “Goof Around Gang” and Maria apparently fires Larisa, one of her insincere friends, much to her protest. It may be a bit of a cop-out to let Maria off the hook for that confrontation, as she’s still yet to truly stand up for herself against emotionally abusive friends, but like with people, I suppose that we have to happy with progress of any kind.     

Consistently now, we’ve seen Maria deal with the various conflicts and quagmires of social life successfully in adulthood with open communication. It’s an excellent juxtaposition of the way Maia behaves in her adolescence. Throw in the complexity of comparing Maria to her mother when she pushes Scott to do stand up, and you some interesting questions. Does the stress of performance precede a mental break for Maria? We saw this in the first season. Is that also the source of her comedic prowess? The show is based on her real-life experiences.

Why is Ranlith in the Center of the Earth?  Who Put Her There?

In the future we see Maria nearing a mental health crisis. It becomes harder to tell if she is having an episode or not. The cinematography suggests this with high contrast and tons of glare in the lighting, abrupt cuts, and zoom-ins. It appears that Maria is suffering under the conditions of her success, specifically that she has to keep her lady voice at all times.

To go with the current climate in Hollywood and the US as a whole, there are also some not so subtle jabs at the sexist nature of the industry here too. Maria’s onset co-star is a known womanizer who is clearly trying to seduce her. Oh and that Hollywood Ladies Club (how does she know where it is if it’s a secret society?) is nuts. Maria thinks so too, Is it real? I wanna see. I must continue watching. Do you support Ranlith? This moment, with it’s sudden transformations to the images and aspect ration, throws the audience for a spiral as logic goes out the window.

The show seems to have an ax to grind with its home, Netflix. Though the streaming giant has been switched out with Muskvision. There are pretty direct digs at the absurdity of Netflix contracts and production process in the season already. Add to this the Ranlith plot and who knows where this show is going. Wherever it leads the ride is sure to be interesting.

 

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What did you think of Lady Dynamite Season 2 Episode 3? Does Scott have a future in comedy? Will Maria join the Hollywood Lady’s Clubs plot? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Lady Dynamite airs on Netflix and you can catch it whenever you want. Follow The TV Type on Twitter!

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