Better Late Than Never Series
The Kominsky Method Season 2 Review
I have always been in quiet awe by the abilities of Alan Arkin. Going in to his seventh decade as a performer, he has always been one of the most understated comic — and occasionally dramatic — actors who’ve ever lived. When he won his Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, I have no doubt many people were thinking it would serve as the Lifetime achievement award for his career. If anything, it’s started an entirely new life for him as a performer. And rarely has their been a perfect melding of actor and role than his work in Netflix’s The Kominsky Method.
The series is about the complicated friendship between Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas, whose work I’ll get to momentarily) and his agent Norman (Arkin) After Norman’s wife passed away in the Pilot, Sandy followed his late wife’s wish to take care of his friend who was considering suicide for awhile, whose only daughter has been in and out of rehab (she went through a stint last season), and who seems to spend much of his life now going to funerals of former clients. It was at that most recent funeral that he finally met one of the last girlfriends he had before he got married, Madelyn (Jane Seymour, showing comic timing I honestly never thought she had) and slowly she and Norman are finding their way into a relationship again. In the last episode, I watched Norman went out to Santa Barbara with her, and after a lovely evening, suddenly realized Madelyn wanted him to sleep with her. This led to a terrified call to Sandy, where the discussion involved whether or not the plumbing still worked, and more importantly, what it would be like to have sex with a different woman after nearly half a century of marriage. The end scene of the episode was both touching and wry at the same time, and demonstrated yet again what gifts Arkin has possessed.
Of course, as anyone who watches this series knows, Douglas has great comic ability as well. It has been a great joy to see that Michael Douglas has finally cut loose all the burdens of being SO intense for two generations of movie goers and has regained the comic timing he rarely got a chance to demonstrate in his film work. His major storyline this season so far has involved his relationship with his daughter Mindy, who just revealed to him that she’s been seeing an older man. Actually a man about Sandy’s age. For about a year. Sandy, who’s spent much of his life dating much younger women, is appalled at this (and not at all comforted by the fact that Mindy tells him about a prostate drug her boyfriend’s on) but agrees to have dinner with them. What follows is pure joy as Sandy meets this new man (a nearly unrecognizable Paul Reiser), and they start getting along when it becomes clear that her boyfriend has more in common with Sandy then he does with her. (Poor Mindy can only relate to their references by saying: “He’s dead, right?” and getting steadily more drunk)
The Kominsky Method is one of the more joyous comic experiences on a service that has more than its fair share. It’s not as mind-bending as Russian Doll or as thrilling as GLOW — it’s just fun. And much as with Grace and Frankie, there’s always so much joy in seeing some of the greatest actors of the past demonstrate their magic. (In a wonderful scene, Sandy’s ex-wife is played by Kathleen Turner. The marriage seems to have gone nearly as well as it did when they were co-starring in The War of the Roses.) And trying to deal with the world of Hollywood being the killer of dreams is also fun. When Sandy tells his class that they may not all make it as actors, they all assure him that they’re going to do with the hopefulness of the young. Is it art? No. But hey, this is Hollywood. Art isn’t part of consideration most of the time.
My score: 4.5 stars.