The Weekly Buzz column is a timeline of my favorite pop culture events of the week.
9/9: One Mississippi Season 2 Premiere (Amazon)
Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi is not so much underrated as under the radar. Following a darkly brilliant first season, the show’s sophomore run is even more settled and cohesive. The slow burn between Tig and “straight” Kate is compelling enough to keep even casual viewers invested thanks to the crackling chemistry of leads: Notaro and real-life wife Stephanie Allynne.
The show, though billed as a comedy, is not afraid to tackle tough topics. Season 1 was a devastating portrait of grief and its lingering effects. Season 2 addresses the casualness of sexual assault, the racial history of the south, and anti-LGBT discrimination. Heavy stuff, to be sure, but Notaro’s dry humor and sarcastic wit add levity. As do the various imaginative sequences including a can’t-miss rendition of “Ring of Keys” from Broadway’s Fun Home.
Artistically, the show captures the naturalistic beauty of the southern landscape. The fictional small town of Bay Saint Lucille feels lived-in and its inhabitants authentic. The show’s critique of southern conservatism is pointed, but honest. And, the music is expertly selected to complement each scene. I would call the series a complicated love letter to the south.
My biggest complaint is that the run-time is too brief. Each season consists of 6 20-minute episodes. I recommend binging both seasons back to back if you’re a newbie; I had to wait a whole year in between.
Stylistically, the show is comparable to Aziz Ansari’s Master of None. Some of the acting is stilted, but the lead is loveable and the storyline captures a raw sense of realism not typically found in scripted series.
9/12: The Mindy Project Season 6 Premiere (Hulu)
I loved the Mindy Project during the first three seasons. It was fresh, funny, and had a clear idea of what it wanted to be: a romantic comedy that commented on romantic comedy tropes.
I stopped watching after the first few episodes of season 5. Character arcs became repetitive and characterization became caricature. Mindy went from authentically flawed but lovable to downright unlikeable. And, actor turnover made it difficult to pin down a central cast to invest in.
I am going to finish the series because I still believe in it, and I am hoping the characters I cared about for so long finally get their happy endings.
9/13: Younger Season 4 Finale (TV Land)
I binged Younger over the summer and fell in love with its unabashed feminism and surprising sex-positivity (on TV Land!). Plus, as a writer, it’s helpful to see the fictionalized inner workings of the publishing world.
The unlikely premise (40-year-old Liza pretends to be 26 in order to get around publishing biz ageism) somehow works thanks to vampire goddess Sutton Foster. It’s good to see Hilary Duff on screen again playing the divisive character Kelsey Peters (I mostly like Kelsey, my wife hates her). Liza’s lesbian roommate Maggie is a wisecracking delight. The obligatory love triangle doesn’t disappoint. And, there’s a lot of unexpected emotional depth.
If you’re on the fence and you like light shows with female leads, give it a chance. The “millennials are awful” jokes are too on the nose, but I’m starting to think they’re meant to be that way now…?
9/13: Broad City Season 4 Premiere (Comedy Central)
The Broad City babes are back with an origin story! Want to see Abbi and Ilana’s friendship from the beginning? Of course you do. The premiere episode was full of callbacks, laughs, and surprises.
Though some people were critical of the episode’s atypical structure, I was excited to see the show experiment with form. The alternative timelines evoked one of my favorite Community episodes “Remedial Chaos Theory.” So watch both if you’re into that sort of thing.