Monday, December 11, 2023

This Fool strikes comedy gold in South Central L.A.

Everyone is rightfully talking about The Bear (including me). But they should also be talking about Hulu’s amazingly hilarious This Fool, about a kid who grows up on the straight and narrow in South Central L.A., then as a grownup still lives at home helping operate an unorthodox rehab center calls Hugs Not Thugs for ex-cons.

With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it truly is surprising that not enough people seem to watch or even know about This Fool. I have yet to watch the 10 episodes of Season 2, but the 10-episode first season is as close to perfect as TV gets. Chris Estrada is the mastermind. Working at a warehouse and as a stand-up comic, he developed the show (mainly about how we love our family and friends but also how they drive us nuts) and Hulu bought it, with Fred Armisen later recognizing the brilliance and executive producing the series and starring in some episodes as a rich freak who might help fund Hugs Not Thugs.

Estrada, as Julio, begins the show going to prison to pick up the just-released cousin who bullied him as a kid. The cousin is wacky Luis, played lovingly by Frankie QuiƱones, a comedian who previously gained some acclaim for his Jane-Fonda-for-gang-members web series Cholofit.

Some of Season 1's highlights include episode 2 when Luis gathers a group of ex gangsters to (try to) get in a fight, episode 4 in which Julio tries to avoid his birthday and can't shake his feelings for ex-girlfirend Maggie (also played excellently by Michelle Ortiz), and episode 9 when the head of Hugs Not Thugs - Minister Payne (in a cult-leader-like offbeat performance from Michael Imperioli of Sopranos and The White Lotus fame) - is caught up in some awkward situations with the potential rich funders of his non profit.

Do yourself a big favor and get on board with This Fool.

Season 1: 5 out of 5 stars

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