What to Watch This Weekend: John Mulaney and ‘Being Serena’

Plus, a down and dirty look at the underground restaurant scene in "Sweetbitter."

May 4, 2018 5:00 am
SANTA MONICA, CA - MARCH 03:  Co-host John Mulaney speaks onstage during the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MARCH 03: Co-host John Mulaney speaks onstage during the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
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Welcome to What to Watch, a series where we tell you the best shows, movies and series out right now, both on networks and streaming services.

5/2 John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City

After his amazing turn on Saturday Night Live a few week backs, I’ve been jonesing for some more Mulaney, the former SNL head writer responsible for co-creating the character Stefon with Bill Hader and The Oh, Hello Show with fellow comedian Nick Kroll.

Mulaney’s one of those instantly quotable comedians–his Law & Order: SVU material will never not be the gold standard of TV meta-commentary–and you’d have to be missing something deep inside yourself if you’re not entertained listening to the guy who came up with the “lobster version of Les Mis” sketch.

5/2: Being Serena

I think David Foster Wallace wrote in an essay once something to the effect of it’s almost impossible to get good profile material from interviews with sports stars since they themselves can’t really explain why or how they do what they do. And at a certain point, it’s basic muscle memory, right?

Sadly for DFW, he wasn’t around for the boom in sports docuseries; a genre heralded by ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and HBO Sports, where we get our little glimpse into the lives of celebrity athletes and are satisfied.

So if you’ve just finished watching the Andre the Giant documentary on HBO, check out Being Serena, which begins with the famed tennis twin telling the audience via voiceover that she found out she was pregnant right before playing in the Australian Opens.

Motherhood is a major theme of the show, as well as family (obviously), and it occasionally can seem like Being Serena isn’t, at least on the surface, that different from being a Kardashian. But come into it knowing this won’t be the objective documentary series you’ll ever see and have a good time anyway.

5/04: Arrested Development Season 4 Remix: Fateful Consequences (Netflix)

Soooo…not exactly a new show, but a recontextualized one: Netflix is re-releasing season 4 of Arrested Development– which only received a lukewarm reception from its once avid fanbase, in part because I think Mitch Hurwitch took a big swing by making the narrative an out-of-order Rashamon homage–and editing Season 4 to run in chronological order.

Hopefully, this will work out better than the time I tried to play Memento by starting at the last chapter and rewinding it till I hit the opening end scene. Some things are just so unnecessarily complicated!

5/06 Sweetbitter (Starz)

Based on the bestselling novel by Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter is like The Devil Wears Prada but for cooking. A young, naive waif moves to New York and begins working in a celebrated downtown restaurant. Soon, she is seduced by all the glitz and glamor of bad boy chefs, drugs, and the remarkable staying power of Paul Sparks, who keeps popping up in every great show for the past two years like he’s legit his Mickey Doyle character from Boardwalk Empire. If Sparks is in it, chances are Bittersweet will be a hit.

 5/06 I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime)

Showtime really loves Jim Carrey. Not only did they pick up a second season to the hit-and-miss dramedy I’m Dying Up Here–about a group of LA comics in the 70s trying to hit it big–but now he’s doing Michel Gondry’s series for the network, Kidding.  For my money, I’m more excited to see Carrey reunite with his director from Eternal Sunshine, but I’m Dying Up Here does have its moments of charm; like Vinyl but without you having to shed any tears over the waste of a good Bobby Cannavale.

P.S. Jim Carrey makes the weirdest art ever and it’s starting to worry me.

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