Barry is a deservedly award-winning series about a character as tragic as Tony Soprano. Created and starring Bill Hader, he introduced us to sociopath Barry Berkman in a tragic and – yet – comical way. Barry has the perfect phrase to remind us of this anti-hero’s journey: “you can’t bury your past”.
Barry is a deservedly award-winning series about a character as tragic as Tony Soprano. Created and starring Bill Hader, introducing us to sociopath Barry Berkman in a tragic and – yet – comical way, Barry has the perfect phrase to remind us of this anti-hero’s journey: “you can’t bury your past”.
Barry Berkman is a villain, we cannot forget that fact. A mercenary and expert professional assassin, he is naturally complex and because Bill Hader brilliantly shows us in his astonished eyes how tragic the life of this ex-soldier is, we sympathize with him. However, Barry is a self-professed psychopath who deviously tries to survive in a strange morality, which keeps him in a universe of crimes, even though he genuinely wants to leave it.
Like Cassie in The Flight Attendant, Barry seems to attract people who keep him in sociopathy. None of the people in his closest circle are whole or centered. None. And absolutely all of them, without exception, use him as a robot for their ends, only turning against him when it matters. Faced with this cruelty among the cruel, we come to question whether Barry is the good guy in the story, and how to defend his actions?
In this way, he stands out in the club of “bad guys,” the anti-heroes who make non-cinematic content (it’s weird to say TV when the medium is now different) so fascinating. Barry’s fate, because the series is a dramedy, may save him in a big twist, but for now, it’s headed in a tragic direction. He deserves to pay for what he does, but not alone.
Barry’s biggest antagonist, from the start, is the villain without a doubt, Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) who is in a personal vendetta with his ex-partner, as cruel as it is unnecessary. For Fuches, Barry’s attempt to change as a person is offensive in every way, from the financial to exposing his own sociopathy and malice, which had a perfect channel in manipulating the young man who had him as a father figure. That’s why he’s directing all the victims from Barry’s past, just like he did with the ex-Marine, to use them in what they think is revenge and right, but they’re just doing the job he himself is incompetent to do. Fuches is hateful and Stephen Root is wonderful on the role.
Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) suffers from narcissism so high that only in Hollywood can she survive. Her relationship with Barry could take him to a better place, one of love and trust, but she’s just as screwed up as he is. Or more. Also dependent on abusive relationships, she “understands” her boyfriend, but her obsession with success is so much greater that she conveniently kept him close, including keeping his secrets and not caring as long as he suited her. Now that she’s gotten where she wants to be, confronted by her hypocrisy, we see yet another breaking up with Barry. However, it is her address that the murderer’s victims have as his, so when she ends the relationship, Sally walks towards a possible tragic end.
That leaves two other detestable people, but who we think are friendly, with a real relationship with Barry, Gene Cousineau (Henry Wrinkler), and the hilarious NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). It’s these two who “get” Barry, with Cousineau inadvertently “pulling him out of crime” – thus unleashing the fallout from Barry’s past – and NoHo deviously befriending him, alternating resentment and love. My suspicion is that Barry’s turning point and salvation lies in a combination of relationships with these two.
Henry Wrinkler, who also won an Emmy for his brilliant performance as Cousineau, is a bad-tempered and insufferable man whose past of mistreatment has isolated him in a minor role in the industry, teaching newcomers. Unintentionally, he identifies in Barry the most common element in society today: ignoring the truth we are told to project a persona that “sells” and is admired. The show only has daffodils, so when in the first season the professor didn’t hear Barry’s confession, he ended up creating a new monster. Barry is considered a great actor and wants to change his life. However, needing to “erase his footprints”, he kills the mentor’s love, threatens his family, and holds him hostage. Of course, it was Fuches who made it worse by telling Cousineau the truth, but Barry really likes and is grateful to him. We see him now with a new career “thanks” to the killer and it remains to be seen if he will be a good person, turning against Barry by the right means (turning him over to the police) or if he will appreciate his new career chance and ignore the truth. . Barry’s surrender has yet to pass through Cousineau.
And NoHo Hank? Our favorite criminal, inconsequential and hilarious, but with a “good heart”, within what is possible in a criminal universe, of course. Her shaky friendship with Barry is at a new stage and this one seems to have some interesting potential. NoHo uses Barry just like Fuches, but now that he’s found true love with Cristobal Sifuentes (Michael Irby), the Chechen is genuinely grateful to Barry for saving him from the Bolivian mafia. Only NoHo can effectively help Barry in the trap created by Fuches and has the motivation to do so.
With so much cruelty and confusion, it will be difficult for Barry to survive, but the third season promises. It’s amazing and Barry Berkman is already one of the most classic anti-heroes in fiction. We pity him and we root for him. A real updated Tony Soprano. Amazing.