Published on July 24th, 2020 | by Kim Kurtenbach0
Sometimes those annoying automatic previews on Netflix actually work! Kim reviews a surprisingly entertaining TV show that he decided to binge watch on a whim.
A major victory was won yesterday when I finally found the setting on Netflix to turn off the automatic previews. You know, the setting that makes all the icons bark at twice your TV volume if you pause for even a nanosecond. For the last six months, the twitchy Tourette’s of Netflix kept showing me a preview for Imposters, some show about a pretty girl with big dumb sunglasses looking for a new start, in a new town, and a quiet life, blah, blah, blah. It looked kinda stupid, like some drippy horseshit where everyone is pretty, everything is glossy, rich, perfect, and meaningless.
Also yesterday, I watched the entire first season of Imposters (2017) in one sitting. Stupid Netflix robot, mining my data to know what I will like watching before I do. I’m surprised that program wasn’t just trying to advise another robot and ask me type in a binary code to prove I’m not a human. Rant terminated. Are you still watching FBS Review for Imposters? Press enter to continue.
Ezra has been drinking a lot and is preparing to hang himself. This is a pretty standard reaction when your wife leaves in the middle of the night after taking everything from your bank account, savings, a second mortgage on the house and your business. Ezra doesn’t know if Ava conned him or if she is missing, or forced to do this, or even dead. And a man shows up, asking questions about Ava and claiming that her real name is Alice and she is the woman who cleaned him out the year before. So Ezra and Richard drive from Arizona to NYC and track down Ava/Alice to an apartment where they meet Jules, who claims that Ava/Alice is really Cece, her missing wife.
If it sounds like I’ve given too much away, I assure you I have not. That’s just the general overview of the first two episodes. There is a lot more plot lines scurrying in all directions that build the mysteries of Ava’s disappearance.
Imposters pulls three tricks in it’s 10 episode first season to build a non-redundant arc. First, it examines relationships; how they start, how they tumble wildly into intoxicating, heart-pounding exhilaration and what happens to people when their partner suddenly vanishes. The feelings of being abandoned are sensitive and deep, dizzying and emotionally erratic. Exploration of this, for thoughtful writers and capable actors, must be savoury and Imposters manages well to illustrate the complexities of these reactions and responses.
The second trick is a simple cat and mouse game. Characters are always searching, chasing, and navigating their way through clues, but the real enjoyment comes from watching them expose, then face, then handle their fears, growing and changing as the days go by. Much of the time, themes return to how ‘perfect’ falls apart, what the shattered pieces do to people, and if they can ever set things right again – to find closure, if there is such a thing.
The third trick is the angle of the con game, and one episode in particular is basically a 43 minute version of Ocean’s Eleven (2001), right down to that hollow, bouncy jazz of a baseline that plays in the background anytime anyone, ever, is pulling a con. If I played it for you in the car, you would suggest that we drive to the casino with a plan to swap out the night deposit bag for an identical bag stuffed with old phone books that we get from a sporting goods store.
Imposters is far more likely to warrant your time and attention than you might think. Sure, it’s got a few faults and, on the surface, it’s just ridiculously good looking people gazing fondly at one another. The mostly unknown actors may not strike your fancy, but I can’t really do anything about that. However, if you can stick with the first couple episodes, I promise some laughs was surprised to find that the show could pen some right proper jokes and know how to bring up the same punchline for a second giggle just when we’d forgotten it. It makes us feel like we’re part of an inside joke with our friends. Ahhhh, you had to be there.
The sweetest treat of all is a surprise appearance by Uma Thurman, who plays an alternate universe cleaner combination of Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction (1994), right down to the suit, the car, and the attitude. She’s fucking marvellous, and the dialogue gives Uma plenty to work with. It’s strange to hear her call another woman ‘kid’, but I guess it’s about that time. I almost didn’t recognize her right away because in her first scene, the bartender who serves Uma is my close, personal friend, Saskatoon native, Simon Chin. And that’s not the only familiar connection, as the entire series was shot in and around Vancouver and Toronto.
Whether you enjoy Imposters or find out it’s not quite for you, my last hot tip is an alternate choice that awaits: Imposters ran two seasons (with hints of a third) before being cancelled. Netflix’s competitor, Amazon Prime, ran a very similar show for three seasons called Sneaky Pete (2015). SP boasts a more recognizable cast with Giovanni Ribisi in the lead roll and support from the masterful Margo Martindale and the workhorse Peter Gerety. SP runs waaaay better con games, if that’s the part of Imposters you enjoy most. Another fun show that means you at least get pleasure out of one or the other and, if you’re lucky, both. Please tell me if it’s neither. We’ll have to talk.
I still hate the automatic trailer function on Netflix, and it’s going to remain off, but I was happily brainwashed into watching a show that I had scrolled past with an arrogant dismissiveness for months.