Today’s episode of Flaked has Chip avoiding, then finally confronting, his landlord Jerry, who has some bad news for him. Meanwhile, his convoluted attempts to keep Dennis from dating London backfire in his face. This episode was a vast improvement on the pilot, and shows some possibilities going forward for the series.
Here are some thoughts.
1. “She posts a lot of sunsets. She’s very mysterious.”
This episode had a lot more humor than the previous episode did. Now that the general melancholy was laid out in the pilot, it feels like there’s more freedom to play around. The above quote is what Dennis says about London in regards to her Facebook. It’s a typically lovesick guy looking for ways to praise the girl he likes, going so far as to equate her banal social media activity as somehow mysterious. It was a great one-liner that summed about a few things all at once.
2. “You have a serious platitude problem.”
Another great moment. Dennis is calling out Chip after he gives him a piece of relatively meaningless advice. The above quote is also indicative of AA in general, a critique that’s been lodged at the organization for decades. Platitudes don’t solve your problem, they’re a part of it.
3. Chip is simultaneously trying to be good, and is being an asshole
Chip spends this episode going from a guy who wants to genuinely help his friends, to a manipulative cynic, and back again. It happens several times throughout the episode. Although the majority of the time he’s in manipulative cynic mode. It’s fun to watch Arnett try and play this dichotomy, and for the most part he’s doing a good job. Though he remains underdeveloped.
4. Will Arnett does some great comic acting in this episode
There is a moment in the show where Chip has a conversation with Cooler, a clueless friend of his and Dennis. Cooler comes to Chip to tell him that while he was watching Dennis’ dogs, one of them snatched up a smaller dog and tried to kill it, so he had to put his finger up the dog’s anus to make him stop. The look on Chip’s face when he hears that is priceless, and is a testament to Arnett’s comic instincts, which are sharp as ever.
5. There’s a lot more energy this go around
Perhaps it’s because the pressure to set up the world is mostly over with, but this time around things are a lot less lethargic. Relationships crackle on screen and the writing is sharper. The stakes feel higher, even if they’re not really. If the show can keep this momentum moving forward, it could turn the series into something special.
6. The music on this show is incredible
There’s a scene where Chip decides to finally confront Jerry, but chickens out at the last minute. He goes back to his house, the late afternoon sun glaring through his window. He opens the fridge to drink his “kambucha,” which is actually his secret wine stash. The score swells and twitches, an electronic depiction of paranoia and melancholy mixed together into a pulsing, agitated rhythm. It’s a testament to Stephen Malkmus, the composer for the show and former member of the group Pavement. He keeps the momentum going and correctly creates the soundtrack of somebody trying very hard to keep it together.
7. Dennis is a bad dog owner
When he hears how Cooler had to stop his dog, Dennis’ reaction is one of rage. Not because his dog tried to kill another dog and needs to probably be put down, but because Cooler put his finger in his dogs ass. Another example of the myopic selfishness of these characters.
8. Dennis and London’s date is beautifully shot
Through an inadvertent boost from Chip, Dennis gets to go on a date with the beautiful London. The entire thing is shot against the backdrop of the setting sun, rendering the actors indistinct shadows in the dying light. It’s beautiful, especially contrasted with the banality of the conversation the two are having. Moments of true beauty are beginning to pop up in the cinematography.
9. Chip’s scene with Jerry is profound and silly
When Chip does finally go see Jerry, he discovers that Jerry is indeed going to sell his building. For $4 million. But before he tells him this, Jerry recounts a dream where he was having almost the exact same interaction with Chip that he is now. Chip listens patiently, but is clearly annoyed with Jerry, who is quite high. The scene has resonance, but it’s undercut by the cynicism that pervades the show. It feels as if the writing is afraid to be earnest, for fear of mockery from the viewer. Sometimes it’s charming. Here it feels like a missed opportunity.
10. “I love your new haircut.”
By the end of the episode, Chip has resigned himself to the fact that Dennis and London are having a successful date. So he goes to the home of the girl he’s sleeping with, who earlier Dennis had noticed something about. “She got her hair cut. Looks good.” Chip had not noticed. His last line of the episode to her is the quote written above. It’s another fine example of the show using simple dialogue to express oceans about the characters. Well done.
+ Clever and impactful dialogue
+ Incredible score
+ Much higher energy all around than the pilot
– Allows cynicism to take over
– Chip remains a bit underdeveloped
Check out my review for the pilot below!
Flaked – Westminster
Tags: flaked, horizon, Netflix, Netflix Original, Will Arnett