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February 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm #367496
Horace and Pete (stylized as Horace and Pete’s Est. 1916) is an American comedy-drama web series created by Louis C.K. starring himself and Steve Buscemi as Horace and Pete, co-owners of an Irish bar, Horace and Pete’s.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by Edie Falco, Patrick Wright, Kurt Metzger, with Alan Alda and Jessica Lange.February 7, 2016 at 5:39 pm #367498
Like much of Louis C.K.’s TV work, Horace and Pete is a messy experiment that stays just on the good side of pretentiousness. But it’s also probing, engaged and moving.
New York Times
It’s dark. It’s so dark, and random, and devoid of any humor, and out-of-the-blue surreal on a Twin Peaks level, and you know what? I laughed.
New York Observer
Gentle awkwardness quickly spirals into full-blown tragicomedy. If the first episode is any indication, Horace and Pete is the next great show to get obsessed over-and Louis did it on his own.
The strange thing is how well C.K.’s experiment seems to work in the end. The cast puts on a hell of a show; Alda is magnetic as he descends into sadness, while Falco injects Horace and Pete with tissue-worthy emotion.
Alda, Falco, Buscemi and Lange are powerhouse dramatic actors, and C.K. makes a good reactive foil to them.
This is an artist with a great deal of clout… – and he’s using that cultural currency to challenge himself. It’s worth a return visit to see where Horace and Pete will go from here.
Horace and Pete is a testament to what comedians can achieve when left to their own devices.
This series isn’t going to be for everyone, but all of the disorientation and ingenuity certainly make it one of the most thrilling things to come along in some time.
It’s a comedy, mostly, sort of, but a comedy that aims to capture the shifting tones of real life, the pathos and the existential aches as much as the laughter and the absurdities.
It feels more like theater than television has anytime since the fabled 1950s, though an extended political debate attempts to nail it as up-to-the-minute. It’s also an opportunity to watch great actors at play.
Philadelphia Daily News
Horace and Pete is quiet and intimate when it’s at its best, but in so many ways it feels like indulgence. And that’s fine.
Liz Shannon Miller
Despite its dim view of the cultural moment, and the bitter edges of its characters, there is something exhilarating and hopeful about the show.
Even at its most obvious or ungainly, it’s never less than interesting, and it’s certainly not shy of conviction; no C.K. fan with an Internet connection and $5 to spare will want to pass it by.
Los Angeles Times
February 7, 2016 at 6:17 pm #367499
Louis C.K., Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange are EVERYTHING in this.
The most unpredictable, heartbreaking, funny, naughty, beautiful surprise of the year.
And my Ms Lange is in it! Ha!
Ryan Murphy, Louis C.K. – two titans of the television and entertainment world. Who’s next?
David O. Russell? Darren Aronofsky, Xavier Dolan?February 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm #367500
I enjoyed this a lot, fantastic work.February 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm #367501
Finally watched the first episode and WOW this is stellar stuff. I love the entire cast but especially the great supporting scene-stealers Alan Alda and Jessica Lange. I don’t even know if this counts as a TV series but assuming it is, I would love to see an Emmy push. I imagine Louie wants the work to just exist and doesn’t really care about awards but there’s some major potential here if it’s campaigned right.February 7, 2016 at 8:00 pm #367502
My review of the first episode. Still dumbfounded by the second episode.
By the time a psychotic, hallucinating and broom-wielding Pete (Steve Buscemi) storms and rages to clear out the 100-year-old Brooklyn dive bar, “Horace and Pete’s”, he runs with fellow manager Horace (Louis C.K.) (and which has been managed throughout the preceding decades by generations of “Horace’s and Pete’s” – hard-working Irishmen “who beat their wives and raised their children right” and passed their own pains and miseries down to their families like substantial legacies and inherintances) you get the feeling that you’re watching something both extremely familiar and shockingly new.
This is a bar where nobody knows your name; where there isn’t a laugh track or score punctuated by calculated moments of silence to sway you into feeling one way or another.
This isn’t Cheers and yet, it echoes that show’s charm, humor and quiet melancholy just as it echoes ever so faintly and respectfully milestone television dramedies such as The Honeymooners, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, Archie Bunker’s Place and Maude by way of theater behemoths like The Iceman Cometh and Death of a Salesman. Often, it felt like I was witnessing a masterwork created, written and directed at least three or four decades ago by a team consisting of C.K., if he could time travel, Norman Lear, James L. Brooks, Allen Burns, Eugene O’Neil and Arthur Miller. (It was only the occasional use of a smart phone, or the mentioning of current day sports and politics that would snap me back to the current millenium.) So unique and singular is this show that with every turn I continued miscategorizing it until finally giving up with an exasperrated sense of relief. “This is totally and crazily it’s own f-ing thing,” I thought.
The glowing aura of nostalgia cloaks the entire production, but it’s the piercing and often painfully awkward moments of current and unadorned realities (e.g. politics as sport; the ties that both bind and kill; the fading of familial legacies) that establishes this – already, in just one episode and with no clearly mapped out future or trajectory for the series – as one of the best, most relevant creations to come out, regardless of format (i.e. in theater, film, television or the web), in years. C.K. could never release another episode of “Horace and Pete” and I can guarantee that it’s brilliance would still haunt and beckon you days after viewing it.
Though a long-time and extreme admirer of Jessica Lange (obviously and naively, along with Edie Falco, the main reason I pulled out a bar stool for this, though certainly not why I’m sticking around), I’d be remiss to say or lead anyone into thinking that she’s the star of the show. She’s not. Though she’s fantastic and one gets the distinct feeling that C.K. has, in fact, cooked up something very special for the two-time Oscar and three-time Emmy winning legend he’s long admired, she’s on a welcomed and intriguingly low simmer for now. But we’ll get more into that in a bit.
The electrifying and almost omniscient titans of the piece are Alan Alda and Steve Buscemi, essentially playing flip-sides of the same coin. Â Like two opposing centrifugal forces, they swirl, move and dominate the piece, laying out the stakes with sharp, breathless and shimmering abandon.
Alda’s work easily echoes Caroll O’Connor’s brilliant portrait of Archie Bunker only to grip you with the fresh and unbridled ferocity of his own character’s misguided convictions in a way that guarantees you won’t, by show’s end, think of anyone else before or after him in this role. Â Whereas O’Connor occasionally, brilliantly and out of necessity winked at the audience to reveal bigot Bunker’s soft underbelly, Alda pulls no punches. Â He’s here to persuade you to see and accept his views, however misguided; not to forgive them. The Emmys should change whatever rules and regulations will prevent this from being eligible just to give him – hell, throw him the award.
Buscemi is right there with him, frighteningly good while also practically reinventing the traditional loony and bafoonish foil. He’s what Mike Stivic was to Archie Bunker; Edward Norton to Ralph Kramden, but he bites back and much harder. ÂLike a white-hot fury with lots to say and barely enough lucidity to say it with, he burns through you and everyone else in “Horace and Pete “, as Diane Chambers once said, “with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.” His work here is awards worthy, too.
Rounding out the rest of the main cast is Edie Falco, in a pointed, riveting turn (when the time comes, her ferocity is an equal match for Alda’s); andÂ Steven Wright and Kurt Metzger, both bringing equal-parts substantial weight and effortless levity to their roles.
And, of course, there is Lange, in the midst of an amazing career resurgence which has seen her, within the last six years, lead five television miniseries to pop-culture icon status and lend her exceptional supporting work to a handful of films to great acclaim, while topping it all off with three Emmys, three Dorians, a Critics’ Choice award, a Golden Globe and a SAG in just as many years.
Last year, when asked by Vulture what it felt like to attend the awards shows, C.K. punctuated his response by concluding, “And I like being at an event like the Golden Globes and making Jessica Lange laugh for an hour. I’m a bit of a starf-er, so a lot of [the] time I’m just happy to be in the same room as these people.”
One wonders, did this brilliant comedian, writer, director, producer and star intend to make Lange laugh and lighten up in front of the cameras, too? Though everything points to C.K. having written and gifted Lange with another bombastic role brimming with pathos, something else in his handling of her throughout the piece suggests that he intends to bring the comedienne out of this well-worn tragedienne.
What a refreshing thing it is to Lange, freed from the clutches of Ryan Murphy’s earnest and thrilling, yet increasingly vapid and repetitious scarescapes, getting to go toe-to-toe with another equally amazing ensemble and an even better and more astute master-creator. Here, however, she trades the “Queen Bee” crown for a role that seems like it could veer into American Horror Story territory – a mysterious and acerbic drunkard with what seems like a complicated past and plenty of bones to pick – but which she and C.K. seem determined to steer in another direction.
C.K. has intelligently and refreshingly chosen to give Lange’s character the thickest aura of mystery out of the whole group, while also starting her out as the tamest and most obscure. Â Why is she drinking her life away and sparring with strangers in her late lover’s bar? Why is she so disliked by the female members of her late lover’s family? Why is Alda’s Pete so determined to keep her in the familial loop? Is he really that loyal to his former partner, or are there more complex ties between he and Lange?
I suspect that Lange, billed not as a guest star but as a regular with the same credential weight given to her in American Horror Story (i.e. “And Jessica Lange”), as much as I’m sure she respects and admires C.K. and Co., would’ve made sure these questions would be answered or at the very least addressed by the close of her character’s arc.
It’s testament to Lange’s skill and bravery, and to C.K.’s evidently clear vision that she fits right into his world, surrounded by thespians who match her dramatically, but who will no doubt push and teach her to stretch comedically – something that has always been difficult for her, but which she’s already showing signs of brilliance with here.
Just before the intermission, there is a moment when an old patron of “Horace and Pete”‘s (I can’t for the life of me recall or find this actor’s name; please help) enters the now faded bar and he proceeds to tell us and his fellow patrons how much the bar means to him; how it was where he had his first drink as a lad and met his wife and… other things.
Before dissolving into a puddle of tears and wails, he reminds us that even after fifty years of being away from the bar, it still means enough to him to break him in two.
“Horace and Pete”, given the time to grow and mature, though it feels born that way already, promises to do just the same to us.February 8, 2016 at 12:24 am #367503
Is it certain that it will be a miniseries? How come?
I’d never thought I’d say this, but Alan Alda is award-worthy here.February 8, 2016 at 5:39 am #367504
Episode 2 was just as good, too bad this is a web series so , probably no emmy chances.February 8, 2016 at 8:56 pm #367505
Do you still LOVE it?
I do. It soothes my soul.February 12, 2016 at 5:16 am #367506
Alda, Falco, Buscemi and Lange deserve to get in and maybe even win for acting. They’re doing stellar work. The show should also be recognized for writing, directing and limited series.
[IMG]http://49.media.tumblr.com/ac162541b9ea8b68a5fa0b2ba8e9f9c1/tumblr_o25rb6BArV1roe2pqo4_250.gif[/IMG]February 12, 2016 at 9:35 am #367507
Lange and the rest of the cast will be getting in. I can feel it!
[IMG]http://49.media.tumblr.com/52bdad8d74e6e6a124a4058c0cb571b6/tumblr_o261h17fqn1roe2pqo2_250.gif[/IMG]February 12, 2016 at 10:05 am #367508
If the show hits six episodes (which Louis C.K. has not indicated how many there will be), it will be in the comedy field. When we launch the Emmy predictions center soon, it will be listed as a comedy (for now).
They still don’t know if this is even eligible since it is on his own website. It will almost certainly receive no promotional effort towards the Emmys or other awards shows, so that will not help at all.February 12, 2016 at 10:12 am #367509
Oh, Boomer. I’ve sincerely missed you.
I AM the “promotional effort”.February 13, 2016 at 8:59 am #367510
My God. Laurie Metcalf is EVERYTHING in Episode 3.
#EMMYFebruary 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm #367511
I’m a little late on my personal reviews of the show. I’m actually writing a review combining my thought on episodes 2 and 3, which I think were exceptional and jike nothing else out there at the moment.
Lange dominated episode 2 with an ease and quiet, breezy, melancholic beauty and luminosity she hasn’t displayed since “Tootsie”. It was something to behold. She deserves the Emmy just for her in-a-pink-dress-couch-sex-talk. She was like what I would’ve imagined Marilyn Monroe to be had she lived to see 67.
Metcalf swallowed episode 3 whole with her flinching raw nerve portrayal of a woman torn between guilt and desire; regret and obsession. I seriously cannot heap enough praise on this brilliant dramatic actress and comedienne. She, without doubt, deserves awards for her riveting work here.
Episode 3 also showcased Louis C.K.’s best acting on the series yet. Metcalf guided him with her introduction and then he was just able to take flight on his own. It was like watching a tender, private, awkward dance between two strangers who were once inseparable.
Below is A.V. Club’s Vikram Murthi’s exceptional review on the piece.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Horace And Pete explores marriage, divorce, and self-destruction
“You can’t stay in this fuckin’ thing just to try to make the truth not be true. That’s insane. That’s Catholic.”
The third episode of Horace And Pete opens on a woman (Laurie Metcalf) telling a story to someone out of frame. We don’t know who this woman is, or to whom she’s talking, or how she connects to any of the established characters, but we know she’s confessing something. For nine straight minutes, this woman describes how she became intimate with her husband’s 84-year-old father while staying at their family’s Pennsylvania house in quotidian, Cheever-esque detail. She discusses how her attraction to him began from an innocent place—simply watching him work on the house while he told stories of his youth—and then transitioned to something more serious and sexual—him watching her sunbathe in a bikini and then listening to her masturbate. She captures a very understandable sense of yearning and an instinctual desire for erotic adventure, but also the tragedy of beginning an affair that will permanently dissolve a sweet, healthy marriage.
Over the course of the episode, we find out that the woman is named Sarah and she’s talking to her ex-husband Horace because he committed a similar act during their marriage—sleeping with Sarah’s younger sister—and she wants to know how he felt when he was doing that. Constructed around long dramatic monologues and short dialogical exchanges, “Episode 3” fulfills the experimental promise of the series just by adopting a different structural approach, eschewing the ensemble and the setting in favor of a grounded, mostly heartbreaking conversation between two people who once loved each other. Louis films the episode almost entirely in close-ups, breaking from the main action once in the middle (not technically an intermission, but something like a pause) and once at the very end for a nasty “punch-line,” forcing the audience to stay in the characters’ emotions and not to look away when things get uncomfortable. It’s an episode driven by acting and writing as Metcalf and C.K. beautifully embody people prone to self-destructive behavior who try to form some kind of peace over their mistakes and regrets. There’s no conflict to be resolved or typical dramatic action to be found. It’s just a brief moment of connection that exists for its own sake.
It almost goes without saying that this episode is probably the least accessible of the three Horace And Pete episodes released so far. For some, it’s going to be an episode that requires a religious patience for slow-paced conversation with little levity and abundance of tears, but for those who can lock in, it’s a prime example of what a series like this can accomplish. If Horace And Pete is about anything, it’s about reconciling the past with the present, and how depending on your worldview, the future can look like a bright opportunity or a portent of doom. In the past two episodes, Louis fuses that idea into ensemble pieces about dying institutions and conflicting perspectives. But with “Episode 3,” he captures the self-defeating behavioral cycle that facilitates past mistakes to recur again and again.
It’s interesting what this conversation isn’t about. In the hands of lesser writers, this conversation would effectively be a fight between a divorced couple, rehashing old wounds to hurt the other, but Louis removes the idea of judgment from the get-go and the conversation takes on a much more melancholic tone. Sarah is eminently aware of the weight of her actions and she doesn’t want Horace to tell her what she should do, but what his feelings were when he was doing the same thing. Horace describes the depression and guilt he felt afterwards, and how he wanted everyone to die so there could be a clean break. But he also recognizes that he was subconsciously doing it because he didn’t want to be married, and that sleeping with a spouse’s relative is a quick way to dissolve that. He discusses how people come out the other side of these things, and how people slowly and surely move on. Sarah isn’t going to stop sleeping with her husband’s father, but she’s not doing it with her eyes closed.
But when Horace and Sarah’s conversation turns to their own marriage, it’s clear how a parent’s actions aren’t in a vacuum, and no matter how much you justify it, they can permanently affect children. When Sarah tells Horace about how great his son is doing, it’s difficult to watch Horace take that information in, knowing that he’s all but torpedoed any kind of relationship with him. That this comes after Horace’s insistence that Sarah’s husband’s kids will be fine when the shit eventually hits the fan is a devastating depiction of selective memory. (“I didn’t really know what I was throwing away with those guys,” Horace admits. “You still don’t know, Horace, but forgive yourself,” Sarah firmly tells him.) Despite all the logical rationalizations and how time eventually erodes all hurt, Sarah’s actionswill damage the people she loves and there’s no way around that, but if you’re not going to be honest with the people in your life, at least be honest with yourself.
However, trying to pin “Episode 3” down to a simple lesson or a theme feels like cheating it somehow. It’s a freewheeling discussion about marriage, divorce, and self-destruction that plays like it would in real-time. Sarah and Horace express gratitude for knowing each other, the pain they’ve held onto, and the love they still feel. It’s as if Louis C.K. decided to plop a camera down and film painful honesty for 40 minutes. It feels personal and nuanced in the way the best Louieepisodes feel, but on a much smaller scale. In short, it’s an episode of Horace And Pete, and after three weeks, that’s starting to mean something.