THE PERFORMER | Jack Gleeson
THE SHOW | Game of Thrones
THE EPISODE | “The Lion and the Rose“
THE AIRDATE | April 13, 2014
THE PERFORMANCE | Thrones fans, stop for a minute and try to tally up every single time you’ve wanted Joffrey to get what’s coming to him, every time you’ve wanted to smack that insolent grin off his ferrety face, every time you’ve wanted him dead.
And now that he has shuffled off to spend time with the old gods and the new (if they’ll have him), think about what masterful work Gleeson did in making you hate a fictional character so much.
In Sunday’s episode, Gleeson played the boy king to the hilt, turning every puerile move into a moment of bad-mannered glory. Joffrey’s terrible demeanor and lack of sympathy for any other human could’ve easily become old over the years, but Gleeson always imbued his character with such a joy for churlishness that his bad behavior was a treat to watch.
And the wedding feast offered so many opportunities for Gleeson to play up Joff’s worst qualities. He chopped Tyrion’s wedding gift in half, exploited dwarves in an insulting mockery of the war he “won” and demeaned his uncle in front of the entire crowd — Gleeson filling all of these actions with his character’s bone-deep assurance that they were his right.
Gleeson’s skill at making us abhor his character also made Joff’s death a moment for celebration for anyone with a heart and/or conscience. If Gleeson hadn’t been so good, we wouldn’t have cared so much. So let’s hoist a flagon of Arbor gold to the actor who unrepentantly played the brat we loved to hate, keeping him insufferable and unsympathetic to the very end.
HONORABLE MENTION | As White House liaison Jonah Ryan, Veep’s Timothy Simons has hysterically crafted a character we love to despise, all the while making us feel a little sorry for him. This week, after getting fired from the White House for managing a D.C. gossip site, Jonah decided to embrace his inner sensational journalist and launch Ryantology, a website that aimed to expose Washington’s biggest secrets. Although it’s never been easy to take Jonah seriously, Simons brought a newfound ruthlessness and determination to the character, while delivering such hilarious one-liners as, “I am gonna be updating more than I’m actually dating. Which is a s—toad.” Of course, Jonah’s endeavor didn’t quite go as planned. As soon as he landed a gig with MSNBC, Dan threatened to ruin him if he said a single bad thing about the Veep, and, with that, Jonah folded like a house of cards. But each time Simons was on screen, he brought a new facet of the hapless Jonah to life, and we couldn’t get enough.
Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!