THE PERFORMER | Andy Daly
THE SHOW | Review
THE EPISODE | “Buried Alive/6 Star Review/Public Speaking” (Sept. 10, 2015)
THE PERFORMANCE | As Review life critic Forrest MacNeil, Daly is making one of TV’s biggest jackasses a lovable sad-sack with whom you can almost empathize, thanks in part to the character’s unmatched naiveté.
His work in Thursday’s episode was a thing of beauty and horror, as the willing-to-do-anything reviewer found himself buried alive and getting kicked in the nuts repeatedly — not that life itself wasn’t already kicking Forrest where it hurts.
But the moment that truly earned Daly TVLine’s highest honor was when Forrest attempted to do right, but ultimately did wrong. When giving an unwarranted toast at ex-wife Suzanne’s wedding rehearsal, Forrest not only admitted that he was an idiot for ever letting his work wreck their marriage, but that her alleged Mr. Right came along as part of his catfishing review. The initial pain in Forrest’s eyes only matched that of his selfish sense of relief for ridding himself of a dark secret that, at the same time, stood in the way of Suzanne’s happiness.
In that moment, Daly exuded both a sense of morality and immorality in his personification of Forrest, and it’s that peculiar balance that made his performance this week’s best.
HONORABLE MENTION | Bunchy’s status as the heart and soul of Ray Donovan was cemented in Sunday’s exceptional installment, as Ray’s damaged sib — portrayed with remarkable care and nuance by the criminally underrated Dash Mihok — prepared to walk down the aisle with his mental life preserver Theresa. With happiness seemingly within his grasp, Bunchy attempted to secure something even more elusive: Ray’s approval. That mission became considerably more challenging when he landed himself in the slammer for his role in pop Mickey’s prostitution and racketeering scheme. As he sat in a holding room awaiting a lecture from righteous Ray, Bunchy blamed his older bro for his current predicament. “You hold my money over my head and make me feel like a piece of s—t for even asking for it,” he cried out. “Be a man and say it to my face: You think I’m a f—ing child!” And then, in a moment of raw, heartbreaking vulnerability, Bunchy’s adult-like bravado was replaced with childlike desperation, as he reluctantly, humiliatingly asked Ray, “Can you get me out of here?” And, just like that, we could not have loved Bunchy — or revered Mihok — more.
HONORABLE MENTION | As Longmire made its long-awaited return, via Netflix, few may have guessed that — SEASON PREMIERE SPOILER ALERT — its titular lawman would be having to process the gruesome suicide murder of his estranged deputy, Branch Connolly. And even if predicting that outcome was a 50/50 shot, fewer may have anticipated the nuances Robert Taylor explored in that opening hour. “I ignored everything leading up to this. Everything,” Taylor’s tough alter ego admitted to Vic and Ferg as they surveyed their colleague’s corpse. “I’m not going to ignore anything now.” Indeed, Walt was later found obsessively searching the river bed for evidence the size of, yes, a BB, asserting, “I’m not going to miss anything more.” Couple that intensity with moments of quieter fatherly concern, as Walt tended to conflicted Cady, and Taylor proved Longmire is, without a doubt, back in the saddle again.
HONORABLE MENTION | When You’re the Worst began its second season on FXX, we fully anticipated that Kether Donohue’s Lindsay would be an emotional time bomb, caught up as she was in the beginning of a divorce from Paul. But there was no way we could prepare for the outrageous, manic and thoroughly hysterical pep talk that Lindsay gave Gretchen as the latter complained about her wild lifestyle with Jimmy. Somewhere between slapping Gretchen across the face, demanding that Gretchen do “butt stuff” with Jimmy in bed that night and calling her friend a “born-yesterday diaper-face,” Donohue did more than just make us laugh. She also managed to make us feel sorry for her romantically challenged, wholly unpredictable alter ego (as well as Sweater People across the globe).
Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!