Maron episode 2 review: Dead Possum

Review Glen Chapman
12 May 2013 - 17:15

Glen continues to enjoy Maron, the new comedy series from WTF's Mark Maron...

This review contains spoilers.

1.2 Dead Possum

Following on from the opening episode that explored Maron coming to terms with the fact that he's not for everybody, in this episode we explore him coming to terms with his masculinity or lack thereof. Maron's journey into the world of manliness and practicality is triggered by his friend and “fake fireman” Denis Leary (executive producer of the show) calling him out on his lack of knowledge about his crawl space and his resistance to dealing with a foul smell eliminating from it, caused by the titular dead possum. 

Leary's role in this episode is relatively small compared to Dave Foley's last week, but he's very good in the couple of minutes on screen and his exchange with Maron is felt throughout the episode. They have excellent chemistry together, despite being two very different types of people and personalities, and it's these differences that create quite a wonderful dynamic between the pair, so hopefully we'll get to see more of this at a later point in the show's run. 

In the last episode we saw Maron hurt by overt criticism but also uncomfortable with appreciation of his work. The latter is very much in place in this episode as his mother sends a friend of the family Kyle (Josh Brener), an aspiring comedy writer/director/performer over to get tips on how to have a career in the business. The aspiring young comedy star wants to be like an Apatow “before he got shitty”, an acknowledgement of the current public perception of one of Maron's previous interviewees. 

Another element from episode one was when Maron reacted horribly to a confrontation with an ex-wife whilst out in public but this episode sees him have a more thoughtful reaction following from some devastating news, regarding her family, delivered from her mother. Instead of making the situation all about him there's the acknowledgment of his flaws as a husband and how he let down her family that really welcomed him in. It's a very mature handling of the situation and leads to the episode's strongest element. 

Whilst on the surface it would appear that he learned little from the possum situation, given that he handed the problem over to someone else, there appears to be the recognition that you shouldn't over-think simple tasks. Not everything requires having all the right equipment, sometimes you've just gotta head into the darkness and deal with the task at hand. Anyone who has listened to the podcast will be aware of the set up given, as it was discussed on an intro to a previous episode, but the situation can also be seen as a metaphor for the creation of the podcast and the resulting resurgence in his career. Plus, the task led to him hiring an eager assistant which will no doubt lead to him having someone to dump his emotional baggage on in upcoming episodes. 

Whilst the majority of the episode was a resounding success, the early scene involving his mother saw her portrayed in a manner that was a little too broad, although her outlook no doubt coloured Maron's personality greatly. I'm sure the character will come into its own later in the series when Sally Kellerman is given a bit more to do. Also, Maron's meltdown about his father seemed a little forced and out of place with the tone of the rest of the episode. Given that we're being introduced the the character of his father next week, perhaps this will provide some context to his meltdown here. 

Addressing themes of masculinity, mortality and responsibility the episode packs a lot into the short runtime and is another fine example of Maron and his writers ability to create a well balanced and thoughtful show. Again, it's not an episode that goes for obvious laughs and like the best comedy your enjoyment will largely rely on your ability to relate to the situations portrayed. It's another very strong show and this series is off to a great start.

Read Glen's review of the previous episode, Internet Troll, here.

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