Staged (2020) s01e05 – Ulysses

Two observations after this episode. “Staged” does really well with guest stars—Adrian Lester shows up, more on him in a bit—and it’s relying a little too much on the too easy “David Tennant is the earnestly obtuse one” bit. This episode has Tennant surprised no one else dreams about him, which is really funny but also incredibly… easy. Like, “Staged” has its easy already—Michael Sheen ranting and raving is easy, but glorious. It just seems like giving Tennant the Mutt part is too easy.

Especially since the show’s decidedly not a family sitcom about David and Georgia Tennant’s life during Covid lockdown because their kids aren’t in the show. There are kids, they’re just always offscreen.

Anyway.

Lester. So good. He has this whole arc where he gets, well, emotionally damaged—just a bit—from interacting too much with Sheen and Tennant and it’s really good. The laugh is never about Lester having a rough time during lockdown but it’s still an integral detail of the joke. Really impressively done.

Then the cliffhanger is quite good too. They switch over to drama—“Staged” is able to scale from the gimmicky comedy aspect to the dramatics quite well (not so much with the Tennant household) but otherwise. Like with Simon Evans and Lucy Eaton. Their character development over the season has been great.

Oh, and Amy Lundberg’s really good this episode. Her character is basically delicate artist Sheen’s keeper or tender or whatever, but when it hits the dramatics she moves over to them quite nimbly.

“Staged” works well. Even with the asterisks, it definitely works.

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