"Moone Boy" (
One advantage for the American viewer, to whom the whole shebang is a little exotic, is that it plays as less of a cataloging of historical points of interest and funny fashion choices than does, say, "The Goldbergs." (That said, some of those points of interest are American-made: "Back to the Future," Patrick Swayze, Talking Heads.) Like many if not most coming of age stories, it's set in the halcyon days of its author's own childhood; but more to the point, the bygone time allows O'Dowd to tell a story in which kids are not only ordinarily let out to roam free but are sometimes completely forgotten by their parents.
Martin and Sean, who dress alike mostly, are one and yet not one; Sean, like most imaginary creatures of the screen, has independence and agency, and sometimes the two are at odds. Sean is at once smarter than Martin ("Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Martin asks Sean at one point. "Do you know how this works?" asks Sean. "Not a clue," says Martin) and as ill-informed: "Women love tall men," Sean says, of Martin's new art teacher "who makes her own jewelry and smells like glue and chardonnay," and over whom the two conceive a rivalry, "because they don't like the idea of their boyfriend stealing their clothes."
There is a potted lyrical quality to the text that, marshaled in the service of an Irishy irony, brings to mind Flann O'Brien: "The boring old summer holidays were finally over, and the dull damp autumn had arrived at last, bringing with it that sweet-smelling slanty rain, enchanting early evenings and endless darkness." When Martin goes to apply for a job at a local golf club, he lists his proposed occupations as "bunker boy, golf stick maker, brolly dolly," and his work experience as "paint stirring, dish drying, architect."
"Approach the Bench" (Above Average). The first installment of this comical Web series, written by Zhubin Parang (
If it's something of a comedown to go from cable to VOD/Web TV, the lessened pressure lets King totally be King, for better or for worse (which is also for the better); and if he is not plugged quite as directly into the American mainstream, he has no trouble finding people to talk to. Up and running since July 2012, "Larry King Now" (streaming from Hulu and Ora TV, which King founded with Mexican billionaire Carlos Sim and whose other offerings include "
If anything, I prefer the new show for its very lack of perceived importance. It's casual; King has the attitude of a slightly eccentric, sometimes inappropriate uncle, exercising the prerogatives of his age. You half expect him to pull a nickel out of his guest's ear, and then make him for work it. An everyman interviewer, notwithstanding the occasional dropped name, he mixes meat and potatoes queries others in his line might find too basic ("One has to ask," he had to ask
King turned 80 in November -- he is also the father of teenagers, one should note, as he frequently does -- and, when he's with his peers, or elders, he compulsively turns to questions of age and death. (To
"Playing House" (USA, Tuesdays). With "Broad City" settling in on