Vince Gilligan described Breaking Bad as taking Mister Chips and turning him into Scarface. Barry is the opposite. It’s taking Scarface and turning him into Mister Chips.
If you’ve never heard of the show before, here’s a quick breakdown. It’s about a man who returns home from war and works as a contract killer. He feels like the only thing he’s good at is killing. He feels like it’s his purpose. Until he ends up in an acting class.
Once he sees how good applause feels — and realizes how accepting his classmates are of him — he decides he wants to leave his hitman life behind and become an actor. Unfortunately, walking away from his past life isn’t easy. It’s tough to start over. It’s tough to redefine and reshape your own identity.
Barry is a show about flaws. Even your favorite characters are going to have moments where they are unlikable. The series paints a realistic view on humanity. We might feel like a good person. We might even act like a good percent ninety-nine percent of the time — but when it comes down to it, we’re all fucked up. We all have baggage. We all have rage. No matter how hard we try to do the right thing, we’re imperfect. We’re not always going to get it right.
There’s an ongoing phrase in Barry. “Starting now…” How many times have you treated yourself to a slice of cake and then decided you would get back on your diet starting now? How many times have you smoked a cigarette and told yourself you would never touch those things again starting now? You might not be trying to get out of the hitman life like Barry, but you can relate to his struggle. He’s simply dealing with another shade of a problem we all face. He’s trying to be a better person. He’s trying to get his life together.
Bill Hader stars in the series alongside Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, and Anthony Carrigan. You probably know Hader best as Stefon (and a million other characters) from SNL, but he’s proved his range in Skeleton Twins and he’s going to prove it again when It: Chapter Two is released later this year.
Until then, Barry is the next show you need to add to your queue. It works whether you’re in the mood for a slapstick comedy or an edge-of-your-seat drama. There are going to be moments when you laugh at your computer screen like a lunatic, moments when you audibly gasp, and moments when you take a step back to say, “Whoa, that was badass.”
If you haven’t gotten rid of HBO after Game Of Thrones ended, then you should catch up on Barry. There are only two seasons with eight episodes apiece (which are only a half-hour long). That means you can binge it in a day or two. So what are you waiting for? You should watch it… starting now.