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AVENUE 5 S2E1: “No One Wants an Argument About Reality”

by Travlis Hallingquest
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Showrunner and VEEP alumni Armando Iannucci’s AVENUE 5 debuted on August 19, 2020. This was on a Sunday at 10pm ET, one hour behind HBO’s 9pm ET timeslot for its high-profile dramas. The second season airs on Mondays, due to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON being slated to air encores of its newest episodes.  Due to the unusual high-production standards and mixed to positive reviews of this half-hour comedy series, a third season may not be on the horizon.  Nevertheless, this reviewer of HBOWatch believes AVENUE 5 is an era-defining comedy series in the vein of HBO’s early gems such as DREAM ON and THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW. Now, a quick recap: 

No One Wants an Argument About Reality picks up on the passengers and crew of the titular Avenue 5. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the ill-fated ship is nearly a decade off-course from Earth. Captain Ryan Clark is mentally tormented by this secret and loud-mouther passenger Karen (she lives up to this 21st Century moniker), and is tormented mentally and physically for the withholding of this secret. Karen’s husband and Captain Ryan gaslighted Karen into believing that she is the reason the ship is off course. The dark situation is still filled with Iannucci’s signature humor:

  • Chicken and fish entrees have been augmented with reconstituted eels
    • The Eels are no longer “naturally” reproducing and will require manual stimulation *vomit*
  • Avenue 5 owner Hermann Judd slyly shifts all the Avenue 5’s woes unto Ryan Clark but snatches up credit for any glimmer of hope that arises
  • A crappy soap opera based on the Avenue 5’s situation is a hit tv series back on Earth.

Avenue5-SeasonTwoPosterEveryone in the Solar System, other than the passengers know that the ship is eight years off course. Associate owner Iris Kimura managed to hitch a ride back to Earth via the two-seater rescue vessel a few months prior. Iris remains the series’ most nuanced character.  She is self-centered, driven by capitalistic interests, and emotionally distant. Yet, Iris is fully committed to the rescuing of the Avenue 5, albeit her well-being must come first. Iannucci gives us the grey areas that are predominantly found in modern dramas, in this 30-minute comedy-drama.

The mysterious and hilariously named “Office of the Other President”, is a group of commanders all operating to try and bring the Avenue 5 home. Just before communications are fully reestablished, Iris warns Hermann Judd. Some passengers overhear the conversation and then the shit hits the fan.

Just before the episode closes, another mishap sets the ship on a course that will have its rendezvous with planet Earth around the 24th century. With this situation, AVENUE 5 characters are like GAME OF THRONES characters attending “The Red Wedding” in space. They’re doomed! AVENUE 5 returns Monday, October 17, 2022, at 10PM ET on HBO. We will catch it, will you? 

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1 comment

Jef Dinsmore October 30, 2022 - 8:10 pm

Okay, it was a great start right back into the dilemma and into the clever way the writers have gotten all back into the story.

However, keeping up with the notion of not giving too much away here I delicately ask the question, “how many times can we have people accidentally divert the cruise ship even further off-course?” It happens again in this episode. Perhaps Iannucci sees that what would work best for this show is a strong, but limited run. I’m going to enjoy the cruise while we’re on it though.

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