There’s Always Been Method To This Madness
The Kominsky Method Says Goodbye
I’ve been in quiet awe of The Kominsky Method for the last two years. Watching Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, two of the greatest actors in history, work together as a failed actor and his agent, who can’t admit how much they mean to each other, even though they’ve seen each other through every horrific event (and at their ages, they’d be the first to admit it keeps getting worse) has had some of the most remarkable comedy I’ve ever seen. And privately, I’d hoped that like the quieter Grace and Frankie, it could go on a bit longer/
But showrunner Chuck Lorre has always danced to his own drum. And while Big Bang Theory and Mom had long successful runs, with his first show on Netflix, he’s decided to go out when he’s on top. And so the third and final season of The Kominsky Method begin with Lorre doing something you don’t know if he’d ever had the guts to do. Kill off one of the leads. Admittedly, he’d always planned for Norman to pass away before the show ended, and you would think losing Alan Arkin would utterly gut the show. But as long as Michael Douglas is around, he continues to carry the day. The third season opens at Norman’s funeral, with Sandy giving a simultaneously hysterical and utter moving eulogy of his best friend. It helps matters a lot that Norman’s children, while mourning, remain as self-involved as ever. (This is particularly true of his grandson played by Haley Joel Osment, who goes full on Scientology in his eulogy.) Sandy is moving on the best he can, which is to say not well at all. His reaction to his friend’s death is to find a dog with Norman’s middle name. This dog is being housesat by a Russian ‘massage therapist’. She ‘thanks him’ and he subsequently throws his back out.
Even without Norman around, the series is still hysterically funny. It helps that several of the actors who made the series work so well are still around. Particularly brilliant is Paul Reiser as Martin, Mindy’s fiancée who’s closer to Sandy’s age than Mindy’s, something that irks his daughter no end. Despite the fact that Sandy and Martin are very close, when Sandy has to bequest $10 million to Mindy, he goes out of his way to say that Martin probably shouldn’t know about it. Considering some of the decisions Martin’s made in the past and that’s he making now, I think Sandy’s on the right side of this. Just as great is the fact that Sandy’s most prominent ex-wife, Roz (Kathleen Turner) is back in town. I have been hoping she’d come back since her cameo last season and can’t wait to see the Romancing The Stone stars in the same scene. (How will they deal with the fact that she gets along with Martin as well as he does?) And as always, its wonderful to see Sandy interact with class and just how different acting is these days. One of his students just got cast in the remake of Quincy (Morgan Freeman is in the title role — and gender fluid) and it now becomes just how different Hollywood has become. When Karen announces her casting, her entire class considers her the enemy. Considering how ridiculous they generally are, this is a bitter pill to swallow.
I’m inclined to consider The Kominsky Method a modern classic. I’ll admit it doesn’t do anything revolutionary like so many other Netflix shows, but there’s something to be said for a comedy series that utilizes all these great actors and just lets them work. I’m honestly not so concerned about how this series will end; comedies don’t have to have great endings these days, though it certainly helps. Besides, considering how dark the series can be with so much of its humor, even if we get a happy ending we know it’ll be tempered. The opening of the third season revealed as much. Of course what would be a good ending? A lot of Emmy nominations.
My score: 5 stars.