*SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY AHEAD FOR SEASON 2*
Last night was the Season 2 finale of Lil Dicky's FXX show "Dave." After a hit Season 1 that was universally loved, Season 2 started off rough. Through three episodes, people were giving up on this season and thinking that "Dave" had lost its luster. That it was going to be just a one season wonder that fell off. Well, those peopled turned out to be very wrong. The second half of Season 2 is some of the best television I've ever watched. And that's not me being hyperbolic. It was everything I want in a TV show. It was funny, but also very relatable and dealt with real-life issues we all experience from family to career to relationships to friends and more.
Now I'll be honest, I thought Season 1 of "Dave" was slightly overrated. Don't get me wrong, it was very good. But I thought things went a little overboard when people were hailing it as the greatest, most perfect thing to ever hit TV. It was entertaining. It was funny. But it felt like people were in a competition with themselves to out-compliment the show. "Oh you think YOU like Dave? No I like it even more!" But similar to Season 2, I don't think it really hit its stride until late in the season. And I think the peaks of Season 2 were significantly higher than the peaks of Season 1. Let's break down the sophomore season of "Dave" a little further.
Episode 1 "International Gander" and Episode 2 "Antsy"
I actually thought these episodes were slightly underrated. The season premiere wanted to do something different being in Korea, took a risk, and I didn't hate it. It was unique compared to a lot of other episodes. Episode 2 was pretty meh and forgettable, sans some celebrity guest appearances. But it did do a solid job setting the stage for Dave's struggles, both professionally and personally.
Episode 3 "The Observer"
This was hands down the worst episode of the series and the closest I came to giving up on the show. While criticism might have been a little too much after the first two episodes, everything about this one was deserved. It was so god damn weird. The "Chuck" thing to everything between Dave and Benny. I just didn't understand what he was going for. I get wanting to take risks and be different, but this episode was just a total miss for me.
Episode 4 "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar"
This is when things started to take a turn for the better. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was really good in it. It was funny. It hit more serious topics too and looked at Dave's narcissism. It also explored the newfound friendship between Dave and Ally and the difficulties that come along with trying to be friends with an ex.
Episode 5 "Bar Mitzvah"
This was the best episode from the first half of the season. I think something that's interesting with this show is it really does a good job of exposing its characters flaws without making you absolutely hate them, although it comes close sometimes. This episode made Elz look like a complete asshole. Plenty of episodes make Dave look narcissistic and unlikable. Mike can be a selfish dick. And even GaTa has his down moments, like in the finale last night. But at the end of the day, I don't hate any of the characters. They're all very well-rounded. The writers do an incredible job showing us them at their worst, while also still getting us to root for them. That's an incredibly tight rope to walk. This episode was a shining example of that, taking us through a real ugly part of Dave and Elz's friendship, only to build it back up and give us a satisfying ending. All while making things plenty funny along the way. Oh and we had a good B-storyline with GaTa all episode too.
Episode 6 "Somebody Date Me"
This continued the stretch of every new episode being the new best of the season. It had another big celebrity guest in Doja Cat, and just like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, she fit into the role seamlessly. This whole episode was the most accurate portrayal of online dating you can ask for. The little small talk and banter in the beginning. Trying to set a time and place to go out. Cancelling on one date for someone else that you think is a better potential prospect. Then maybe getting cancelled on and settling back on the original person. Just a never ending cycle. They also somehow made us care about Dave and Doja Cat without even showing them together, all just through on-screen text messages. And at the end of the episode, Dave comes out looking horrible when he cancels on Doja Cat because she's not responding to him despite her having perfectly valid excuses, showcasing the victim mentality a lot of guys have when it comes to dating. Just an overall really solid episode.
Episode 7 "Ad Man"
Another new episode, another new best of the season. Showing Dave and and Emma at their old ad job and drawing the parallels to current day was extremely well done. We also learned a lot about Dave before he became Lil Dicky. Him in his cubicle listening to Yeezus and being convinced he's destined to be a great rapper was really cool to see. It can be hard to pull off a "throwback" episode like this, but they did it masterfully, all while still progressing the current day storyline.
Episode 8 "The Burds"
I will admit it does suck a little that we can't just see Dave become the star Lil Dicky. It's just setback after setback. In this episode, he gets kicked out of the mansion the studio put him in and he has to move back in with his parents. But "Dave" is all about the journey. This episode was such an accurate look at what your relationship with your parents can be like when you're an adult out of the house and getting older. Arguing with them, watching them argue. Dave wondering if he even knows his parents as people. All perfectly displayed. You laughed and you cried. Then we get a big Ally scene at the end where Dave goes over to show her his song about her (or kind of about her) to get her opinion, promptly to ignore that opinion. Again showing that Dave can be kind of a selfish asshole at times.
Episode 9 "Enlightened Dave"
A fourth episode in a row that was an absolute masterpiece. Sort of hard to pick which of these four was best. They were all pretty damn close to perfect. This was definitely the most unique of the four. While the others dealt with very real-life scenarios, this one was more abstract and imaginative. He's at Rick Rubin's mansion trying to break out of his writer's block, and he enters this weird water chamber thing. In there, he gets deep inside his own mind and confronts all the problems he has with people in his personal life, his own ego, and his fear of success. Then we end up with bald, naked version of Dave, "his ego," giving real Dave new ideas for songs that are hidden deep inside him. It's an awesome journey throughout the whole episode of Dave digging deep inside himself and coming out a new man.
Episode 10 "Dave" Season Finale
Everything came to a culmination in last night's finale. To be honest, I thought it was a slight step down from the previous four episodes. But that's more a testament to how good those were. Here, we picked up presumably months later when Dave has completed his album and is finally dropping it, along with doing a VMA performance. But the main story last night was Dave and GaTa's relationship. Dave has had his battles with other friends this season, namely Elz and Mike, but GaTa was the one who consistently put up with Dave the most. Well, he reached his boiling point last night. There was a huge blow up fight that showcased some incredible acting skills, especially from GaTa. Pretty incredible he had no acting experience before this. GaTa is Lil Dicky's hype man in real life. It's very possible they've had actual fights like this before and drew on that. Who knows. But it felt very raw, authentic, and emotional. And it gave us a nice happy ending with GaTa joining Dave on stage for his VMA performance, and then on tour as well. The ending was definitely a little ambiguous. We can assume it went well though. To be honest, there was a part of me hoping Dave would just get his big solo performance and he'd crush it. But instead they opted for some character development for Dave, where the most selfish guy in the world acted selfless in the biggest moment of his life. That's what we call a story arc, folks.
Overall, it was just a masterful season. I understand a lot of people didn't like it early and maybe gave up on it, but I urge them to dive back in. I have always been fascinated by TV shows and writing. It's something I've dabbled with in college and with the fake Curb episodes I write, and it's something I'd like to try doing more of, so what Dave Burd has done with this show is truly an inspiration and sets a bar that everyone should strive for.