So? Did you take our advice and get all caught up over the holiday? Did you catch our interview with Good Behavior creator/executive producer Chad Hodge to get the lowdown on all the behind-the-scenes creative decisions that go into making this fun little psychotic romp? Are you ready? Then we’ll begin.
In a way, we were a little sorry last week’s episode aired right after we made such a push for this show, because it was easily our least favorite of the series so far. The story has a tendency to meander, which is one of its strongest features, but that kind of approach can have its drawbacks and the main one seems to be a rather winding path to the point. It took a long time for last week’s look into the dysfunction of Javier’s family to really come into focus for us and in truth, we think a lot of what was said could have been conveyed in a less wandering sort of way.
For the first, oh… 45 minutes of this episode, we thought pretty much the same thing. While we like the way the show builds naturally upon its own events and story points to propel things forward, it took us some time to get warmed up to this one. An entire examination of Letty’s family dynamic centered around a semi-formal event (insofar as these things go in this world) seemed awfully repetitive after an episode of sitting around a restaurant table examining Javier’s family. We were less impatient about it this time around because Letty’s extended family is just a lot more fun to hang out with.
There’s simply nothing to compare to Letty and Estelle, in an endless cycle of dysfunction and poor decision-making skills, sparring in the jailhouse or sparring over margaritas, wine and pedicures. Or sparring over money. Or sparring over Jacob. Sure, you could argue all that sniping could get awfully repetitive but the dialogue is sharp and funny and these actresses have an astonishingly good rapport with each other. Like the scenes with Javier’s family, it’s all about expanding the universe around these characters; hashing out a little bit more of their history together. The effect is to render Estelle in a much more sympathetic while at the same time pointing out her gentle hypocrisies and delusions. Letty has clearly been a handful and a nightmare for her as a mother, but Letty was pretty firm – without being nasty or histrionic about it – that Estelle simply wasn’t a good mother, no matter how good her intentions might have been.
“I’m trying to do better,” she says to Letty. “So am I.” There you go. Theme established. And you only had to pay attention to the title of the show to get there. Everyone on Good Behavior is… well, on good behavior. Or they’re trying to be. Or they’re fooling themselves into thinking they can be. From Letty’s affirmations app to Rob’s goofy unbridled joy to Estelle’s tendency to celebrate at the drop of a hat, everyone’s trying their damnedest to be happy, whether the world is willing to cooperate with them or not. It’s both admirable and sadly delusional at the same time.
Part of the reason Javier is in such a massive funk this episode is that he’s not nearly as delusional as the rest of the cast. He knows what he is and he knows how he get to where he is. And the knowledge of all that almost crushes him. If this morose little hissy fit of his seemed a bit heavy-handed in tone to us, our mouths were shut by the end of the episode as it all fell in place somewhat naturally.
With the past few episodes, as they wandered around the worlds and relationships of Javier and Letty, it had a quiet and subtle effect on us as viewers. We went from wondering what insane criminal act either of them were going to pull next (and that restaurant heist of Letty’s was a joy to watch) to wondering how all the people around Letty and Javier, from his sister to her mother, from Jacob to Tiffany and Kyle to Estelle and even Rob. And even though this episode was loaded with sad sack moping and a lot of bickering, it was actually a mostly sweetnatured and affectionate look at a lot of the relationships surrounding Letty. So when Jacob’s father shows up at the end to tear it all down, the threat to this (rather fragile, to be sure) life Letty has around herself becomes real and dangerous. And everything about the last two episodes clicked perfectly into place when she asked Javier to kill her problems away.
That’s the great thing about Good Behavior. We never know where it’s going to go but it always feels like it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.
[Photo Credit: Brownie Harris/TNT]
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