HBO Max’s Starstruck It’s not a perfect series, but it’s a perfect series at the border of a certain genre.
There have only been two seasons so far, with only six episodes each, and episodes rarely last more than 22 minutes. It has some relationship-based stakes, but it’s not a show where you need to worry about anything terrible happening to any of the characters. Plus, it’s a comedy whose primary goal is to make viewers laugh, which it does with reasonable consistency.
The hazy charm is constantly lifted by Matafeo’s irrepressible energy.
When the first season aired on HBO Max last spring – episodes aired on BBC Three – without any pre-release buzz; it’s like the television version of a bowl of lemonade, a seductive palate cleanser from the world’s major news or the onslaught of disturbing prestige television.
Guess what? The world doesn’t suddenly become an amusement park of its own, each week seeing the launch of five or 10 new ambitious Emmy Award nominees and the second season of Starstruck again, exactly the kind of strong – but somehow not over-the-top – a lovely show with almost no logistical planning to fit into your life.
The premise, with its vague resemblance to the 21st century Notting Hillinvolves 20 Things Kiwi Jessie (creator/co-screenwriter Rose Matafeo), who had a one-night stand with famous movie star Tom (Nikesh Patel) and then went through a season-long throughout a calendar year – battle the fate and weight of Tom’s Celebrity to see if the real relationship is in the cards.
As we walked away from things, Jessie made the impromptu decision not to leave London and return to New Zealand permanently – mostly for Tom’s sake, but without any promises of what the future might hold. happen. The second part starts with GraduateJessie and Tom sit in the back of the bus wondering what will happen next.
That’s basically what the second season – again written by Matafeo and Alice Snedden with Nic Sampson as a newly credited addition – is about. Jessie and Tom may have decided they’re ready to be together, but that doesn’t change the fact that their lives are very, very different. Plus, before she even planned to leave, Jessie quit her various part-time jobs, said goodbye to her longtime roommate Katie (Emma Sidi) and sent full goodbye letters. emotional for several London acquaintances, including ex-boyfriend Ben (Edward Easton). So where will Jessie live, where will she work, and has she written anything that she will regret?
The new episodes don’t attempt to mimic the captivating time-hopping structure of the first season, where each episode represents a season or holiday. It’s a choice that I fully understand. The first part plays out with the idea of romantic destiny and suggests that even if Jessie and Tom don’t think they should be together, the universe is at odds. It’s not a recipe where the program can work forever, and moving on to the “So now what?” stage of their relationship is the best.
Instead of building plots around long stretches of time, this season’s episodes – admirably against the lure of streaming, perhaps thanks to the BBC – still revolve around events, including a few holiday parties, a funeral (not for anyone that viewers care about) and even a bachelor/bachelor party. I remember how neat the first part of the will-they/will-not-they were, but not in a serious way.
It’s certainly not smooth sailing. We meet Jessie’s aforementioned ex. We spend some time on Tom’s new movie (with Russell Tovey as director) and part of an episode with Tom’s parents and his brother Vinay (Parth Thakerar). We get a little more time with Minnie Driver as Tom’s agent.
The Driver scenes, which are still not often enough, are the exception to one of the show’s minor problems, namely that Tom is simply not all that funny. More often than not he’s a straight man, and that makes perfect sense, but when he leaves the plot alone, they create the smallest lag in a show that would otherwise drag. according to the enthusiasm of the comic.
If Starstruck really a two-handed guy, making Tom a somewhat bland superstar – everyone knows who he is, but there’s a consensus that almost all of his movies are riveting – can be an obstacle. But enough for Patel and Matafeo to have an easy chemistry and when Tom and Jessie are together, the lack of humor is at least replaced by shared warmth.
Patel is comparable to Matafeo when the show goes into dialogue mode which is very nice – references vary from Postgraduate arrive Truman’s show arrive House by the lake – but watching the second season, I was frequently struck by how completely Matafeo could keep things to himself. This is not a Fleabag situation in which, especially in the first episodes, you can feel the origin of the show as a show for one woman. But Matafeo can play scenes where Jessie is being purposeful with herself, and then she brings her unstoppable energy into whatever other interactions the character has. Sidi, Matafeo’s real-life roommate, is the other member of the cast capable of making his own laugh, and when it’s just Sidi and Matafeo arguing, it’s Starstruck at its best.
Pair Matafeo with any of the team’s supporting players – Joe Barnes as socially awkward co-worker Joe, Sampson’s Steve, other unique characters – and there’s no-one that she doesn’t can make her funny. But if you watch her just do quiet business, such as attending her stage show. Magic Mike accompanied by a stuffed banana or avoided laughing because of a striking portrait or coldness opening the fourth episode, it’s clear that Matafeo has an aura that could light up some London neighborhoods.
Matafeo’s voice is absolutely exceptional and the show is her voice, so I look forward to future seasons of Starstruck provide a bubbly escape from the murky standard. At the same time, six 22-minute episodes a year might not be enough, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Matafeo wants to do with her ever-expanding background.
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