Difficult People: Carter – Birdman (Review)

Difficult People Julie and Billy selling tickets

Difficult People “Carter”  starts off making a number of references to  television shows.  It moves into paying tribute to reality TV, “Real Housewives” no less and segues into a massive homage to (or a mickey take of)  the underwear scene in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

This episode was a scathing look at “tourist” theatre goers in the Big Apple. The show’s open has Julie and Billy handing out fliers for their “fringe” production “Swiftical the Musical.”

It is the New York Fringe Festival and these are touting their show. Two people queuing up for “Hamilton” tickets are told by Billy that Lin-Manuel Miranda has endorsed their show.

“Who’s Lin-Manuel Miranda?”

The female tourist asks this before repeating that they really want to see “Hamilton.” It is irony in its purest form. A jibe at the culturally illiterate who want to be part of the culturally astute without the knowledge.

As the pair continue to hand out leaflets, they celebrate their Jewishness by assuming the hayseeds lining up for Broadway tickets are all non-Jewish people who have never been near a Jew before.

A ticket tout comes up and asks the duo if they like comedy.  Billy gets the line of the night with his response:

“We used to, but now we do it.”

Julie and Billy’s show is a cat themed musical based around Taylor Swift. Swift serves the pair with an injunction banning them from putting on the show. They then decide, with some unacknowledged input from Arthur,  to just rename the show  “Carter.”

They  will keep all the melodies and rewrite the lyrics to reference former President Jimmy Carter. Matthew is fired and then hired. His response to each is to scream.

Marilyn “Gwyneth Paltrow’s” her way onto “The Real Housewives of New York City” as psychiatric consultant and ends up being part of the show.  “Carter” is sold out.

Denise and Nate are hurriedly preparing for 400 diners in their restaurant  and cannot watch Matthew in the play. While preparing vegetables they talk. Denise tells Nate that she wants to adopt. Nate suggests Matthew but Denise says he is too old.

“Carter” goes over fairly well, despite the audience leaving in dribs and drabs. Matthew’s entrance generates a small rush to the exit.  Marilyn brings the cameras, and two of the  “stars” of  “The Real Housewives of New York City” to the show.

The show within a show is funny.   Billy’s rapping is actually as impressive as it is amusing.  After the show Lin-Manuel Miranda comes in and tells Billy to remove his name from their fliers. (As part of a subplot thread involving Nate, Miranda apologizes for stealing his, Nate’s, rhyming book report in the fourth grade.)

Denise and Nate tell Matthew that they will be adopting a child and he does not take it well. Leaping up, the young man starts crying, “No,” and rushes out of the venue in his underwear.

The sight of Matthew blundering down Times Square to drums, in his tidy whities, was just brilliant. Not only was it funny but the clear allusion to “Birdman” was just perfect.

In the film  Michael Keaton is a former Hollywood star who is seeking to legitimize himself by performing on stage.  Julie and Billie are also seeking to legitimize themselves via the stage.  This could well be a series high for Difficult People. It seriously cannot get much better than a homage to Keaton’s Times Square “brief” walk.

Difficult People airs Tuesdays on Hulu.  This series  keeps on killing it each and every week. Catch this show and catch some clever comedy.



Guest starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as himself, LuAnn de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan as themselves.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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