HBO Comedy Series: Barry photo

WARNING: Some content may be sensitive or disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised. 

Barry started in 2018, but production was momentarily canceled due to the pandemic while it continued to gain an audience with only two seasons out. HBO is currently doing weekly episodic releases of its third season, and all episodes are available on HBO Max. 

Barry (Bill Hader) is a hired hitman who works for a family friend, Fuches (Stephen Root), after he is given a military discharge. Barry struggles with doubt about what he wants to do with his life while he continues taking hit jobs. He stumbles upon an acting class run by Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) while following his next hit job’s victim.

Throughout the series, Barry balances his personal career goals with his professional and pre-established career. He is suspected of multiple murders throughout the show, but the Los Angeles police can never find the sufficient evidence needed to tie him to his guilt.  

His involvement with a hit job, ordered by a Chechnyan gang, puts him at risk of being identified. Comic relief is strongly represented in the character NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan), a Chechnyan gang boss who is friendly to everyone he meets and takes special interest and care with Barry. He describes his own personality in a scene where he is on the brink of death by saying, “I’m nice. I’m polite. I’m optometrist by nature, you know?”

The first hit victim in the series takes acting classes, where Barry meets his love interest, Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg), outside of a theater. Sally gets distracted by Barry’s presence and storms inside the theater. Barry follows her, and walks into an auditorium mid-rehearsal. Barry is mesmerized by the concept of acting, and loses focus on what his main objective is. 

Barry’s interest in acting is a call-back to his desire to find his life’s purpose, which he feels is more than being a hitman. Barry decides in episode one that he does not want to be a hitman anymore. When he tells Fuches his plan to quit the business, Fuches manipulates Barry. Fuches believes that he “made” Barry, and can control him throughout the series. Barry’s pushback against Fuches’ controlling methods creates a much needed power struggle dynamic. Barry, otherwise, is an unstoppable force of carnage and damage-control. 

Rated 10/10