Last night my wife and I watched the new Danny McBride show "The Righteous Gemstones" on HBO. I have been anticipating this show, as I stated on a previous podcast, and boy did the pilot, for me, live up to the hype.
This show has all the elements that I have come to expect from McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green, but amped up by ten. No show of theirs will live up to "Eastbound and Down", that was lightening in a bottle, but "Vice Principals", and now "The Righteous Gemstones" are excellent. What i really enjoyed about "Vice Principals", and I have written about this before, was how comedic, yet dark, it was. That show was excellent, and it had a great run. What I found in the pilot of "TRG" was that, while still funny, this show may be their darkest yet. There was some wild stuff that went on in the pilot episode. I am not going to spoil anything, but man did stuff gets nuts at the end.
What I want to focus on more today is the plot and the actors. I love the plot of this show. I am a non religious person, not at all, so to see a show that sends up the whole Evangelical TV minister, and makes them sinister and evil and only interested in making more money than any person could ever need. We have all seen how awful some of these TV ministers, Joel Osteen comes to mind first, are really are behind the scenes. That is what this show shows us. The three main characters, John Goodman as the patriarch and main minister Eli, Danny McBride as the screw up, yet thinks he is more important than he really is Jesse Gemstone and the gullible and wet behind the ears youngest son, Adam Devine as Kelvin Gemstone, are all great in their own ways. Goodman is menacing and in a deep state of depression. His wife has died and his family is constantly fighting each other. Add on the fact that he is trying to be the only game in town, he is a bad dude. Goodman is perfect for this role. McBride is perfect in the role of an asshole who is way in over his head. He seems good on the surface, but he has some demons that he is fighting, and he refuses to go it alone. He wants to drag all kinds of people into his own mess. And Devine, in a very different role for him, is so innocent and maybe has some kind of soul and just wants to help people. They are all great. The third child of the family, Edi Patterson as Judy Gemstone, is definitely the smartest one of the family, but she doesn't get her due because she is a female. Patterson was a revelation on "Vice Principals", and now, in a much bigger role, I feel like she is going to shine.
Outside of the Gemstone family, the supporting actors so far are really good. Tim Baltz is Patterson's soon to be husband, and he is a pushover and hilarious. Dermot Mulroney, as a rival minister, is kind of badass, and I actually found myself rooting for him in the episode. Casidy Freeman as Amber Gemstone, McBride's wife, is so good and menacing herself. She had the line of the episode to me when Baltz's character said that the family is backwards and they never give women a chance, Freeman speaks up, but before going into her rant, she asks McBride if she can speak. Even a guy in a super small role, Tony Cavalero as Keefe, the former Satan worshiper who is now working for the church and has found God, I found him absolutely hilarious. Everyone, so far, has been wonderful, and I cannot wait to see where they take the characters from here on out. I have also seen that Walton Goggins, one of my very favorite actors, is going to show up in upcoming episodes, and I'm sure that will rule. It is not only the characters that I cannot wait to see where they go, it is the story too. Like I said, no spoilers, but the way the pilot unfolded, things are going to get wild in this first season. It should be dark and hilarious.
Look, I am a McBride fan. I am predisposed to like what he does, and a show like "The Righteous Gemstones" is perfect for his sense of humor, and what he wants to do on a show. I have a feeling this will be one of my favorites from 2019, and I cannot wait to see how the next 8 weeks pan out. I highly, highly recommend this show. It is really good.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Ok people, one spoiler. Never in your life will you see the efficiency of a Land Rover running over not one, but two people. It was shockingly awesome
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