Barry is a critically acclaimed television series that premiered on HBO in 2018. Created by Bill Hader and Alec Berg, the show follows the titular character, a hitman who travels to Los Angeles to carry out a job and ends up getting involved in the local theater scene.
The show's unique blend of dark comedy, drama, and action has earned it numerous awards and widespread critical acclaim. However, it is the show's use of dark comedy that truly sets it apart from other shows in its genre.
Check out this video from Wisecrack and let's talk after the jump.
How Does the TV Show Barry Utilize Dark Comedy in Writing and Directing?
The show Barry uses dark comedy in many ways. My favorite way is through its well-developed characters. Many of the characters are flawed and morally ambiguous, which creates opportunities for humor.
For example, Barry's acting coach, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), is a pompous and self-centered man who often gives ridiculous acting advice. But he's also someone who carries a deep pain. Someone who wants to make up for his past of being terrible to people on set. The character's flaws are played for laughs, but they also serve to highlight the absurdity of the acting world.
Another bad guy we love is NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). He's a Chechen gangster who becomes one of Barry's closest allies. Despite his profession, NoHo Hank is often portrayed as a bumbling and lovable character. However, as the series progresses, it becomes clear that NoHo Hank is just as ruthless as the other gangsters and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect himself and his organization, and that includes using people like Barry until it's time for them to die.
Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank in 'Barry'Credit: Warner Bros. Television DistributionThe dark comedy in Barry is not just limited to its writing and characters but also extends to its visual style and direction.
The show's creators, Bill Hader and Alec Berg use a variety of techniques to create a distinct visual style that emphasizes the absurdity of the situations and adds to the show's overall comedic tone.
One of the most striking visual elements of the show is its use of color. The show often uses vibrant, saturated colors in its cinematography, which creates a surreal and almost dreamlike quality to the scenes. This technique is especially evident in scenes that feature violence or other dark subject matter, as the bright colors create a stark contrast to the seriousness of the situation.
They often shoot in a wide angle, with everything in focus, to allow things to feel more "real" and to accentuate faces in close-ups.
In addition, the show's use of music is another key element of its visual style. The soundtrack often features upbeat, catchy music that creates a sense of irony when paired with the show's darker subject matter.
All of this brings comedy to the forefront and allows the audience to laugh at some of the darker themes.
Let me know what you think in the comments.