HBO released their new 'noir' comedy pilot, 'Stockholm Syndrome' a little early before its official premiere this Sunday at 9:30/8:30c, so I jumped on checking out what I was hoping to be my next HBO addiction!
Addiction (so far), it is not, but a must-try new comedy it is. I had high expectations with the show starring Jason Schwartzman since I've loved him in every movie of his I've seen and I know full-well he's one of those actors that makes the movie or show. But, much to my disappointment, I was underwhelmed by Schwartzman in the pilot.
The confusing point is that his character, Jonathan, is meant to be underwhelming as a person. He's a quirky writer who drinks too much, smokes too much pot, and couldn't even get himself together enough when his girlfriend was leaving him for not being able to quit the drinking and pot.
But there's a difference between playing an underwhelming, pathetic character and doing an underwhelming job of it. I expected lots of tragic comedy to his down-and-outness, but instead, his character more followed the bored and dull part of his character.
It was still tragically funny to see him yelling after the moving truck driving away with his girlfriend and all her stuff yelling that he could stop drinking the white wine, but he liked the way he thought when he was high, yada yada. But once that part was done, not much happened besides the set-up of how he came to put his detective ad on craigslist and how disastrous and pathetic starting out was going to be.
For his first case, he was trying to track down a girl's missing sister which ended up pretty entertaining as it led him to follow the trail of the sister's tattooed bartender boyfriend to a by-the-hour hotel where he had to pay just to sit in the lobby chair for hours waiting for any sign of them. So yes, as it sounds, funny. But there was still something missing.
I think the issue is he needs to develop more of a personality before the plot around him is going to be interesting. If Jonathan is really going to stick to just being a bored writer/fake private detective without much more to him than being a body going about that business, I have to say I'll be done with this one as much as I want to like it.
Ted Danson's drug-addicted political figure character, George, and Jonathan's buddy Ray, played by Zach Galifianakis have plenty of potential to make for really strong, dynamic cast members, so I believe it was just the purposefully very introductory style of the pilot that didn't allow their characters to quite deliver, or at least here's hoping. Danson's pretty funny as basically the equivalent of Kevin Nealon's character on Weeds, so I think that should help a good amount once there's more room for him to play it up in further episodes.
So overall, I'd say I'm feeling a little wishy-washy about this premiere as you can probably tell by the strong hope, but not the strong feelings about the premiere itself. I'd say because it has such a strong comedic cast, is on HBO, and is a unique story, give this one a chance, and watch about 3 episodes before making your full judgment.
What do you think if you watched the pre-released pilot?