Full disclosure at the start of this article, I’ve never read a single line from any of these books. There’s a lot of people that I know, not too far off in age from myself, that really loved Daniel Handler’s series, I just completely missed them. I think I was a little on the old side for them when they came out, and a little too wrapped up in my literary snootiness at the time (as a teenager I would only read classics in public, and devour corny fantasy novels by the dozen in private. I desperately wanted to be cool, and hadn’t yet discovered that making sure people in my Highschool saw me reading The Count of Monte Cristo was not the way to get it done). And what a shame! If the books were anything like the show was, I feel like I really would’ve enjoyed them.
Having said that, it’s pretty clear that I’m not the target audience for this. It’s aimed at fairly young viewers (despite the amount of fire related deaths) or fans of the book, neither of which apply, and while I did really like the show, I didn’t love it the way I feel like most people will. The child actors are great, they turn in fine performances that help to ground the show in its most ridiculous moments, and they’re as charismatic and sympathetic as a bundle of orphans needs to be. Even the baby didn’t get on my nerves, and I normally have no patience whatsoever for the whole “baby babbles something and then a joke is written underneath them in translation” thing. Here it was used judiciously, and none of the jokes were as bad as they could’ve been.
I also feel like NPH is, if the marketing campaign is any indication, supposed to be a big draw for the show, and one that I, again, sort of have no reference for. I didn’t watch Doogie Howser, M.D. or How I Met Your Mother, and I don’t have a lot of affection for the Harold and Kumar movies (they were pretty funny, I think? I don’t really remember them), so I missed the Neil Patrick Harris fever that’s swept the nation. But now that I’ve seen the show, I get it. He’s very charming, and he turns in a good performance as a campy, self involved, bad actor/villain.
The biggest draw for me was actually Patrick Warburton, which I get is weird, but I just love him. I loved him in Seinfeld, I loved him as The Tick (though I’ve been told by a friend of mine that I should never, ever go back to that show), and everything else I’ve seen him from. I have kind of a weird crush on him and his dry, “I’m smarter than the dumb as a stump dude I’m playing” sense of humor.
Anyways, as per usual this was just a long, rambly way for me to tell you that the show is pretty good! It’s got a weird, off kilter sensibility that I really liked, the sets were incredible, the story is interesting, the acting’s good. Check it out!
Yours forever and for always,
Ps. There is one thing that I never got around to mentioning in the body of the article. The first episode is a little difficult to get through. The tone of the show is really strange and it takes a little bit of time to sink into it. For me, the transition was a little rocky and I almost turned it off. I’ve heard a couple of people mention it, even people who were fans of the books, so I thought I’d bring it up. Push through! Persevere! Or you know, don’t. Do whatever you want.