18 March 2019 | atlasmb
A Clever Satire
Chase Dubek aka Chase Dreams (Case Walker) is a 13-year-old social media phenom in the early stages of stardom. Mother Pat (Molly Shannon) is complicit in his attempt to achieve success. Chase's older siblings are the other two---Brooke (Helene Yorke), a former child dance student who dabbles poorly in real estate, and Cary (Drew Tarver), a waiter who wants to act. Their love lives are a mess and they long to achieve any goals they once envisioned.
The show is about dreams. Chase seemingly has the world at his feet---the tween world, at least. Brooke and Cary keep reaching for their dreams, but the world keeps dragging them back down. But their "dreams" are ill-defined (and mostly defined by others), having to do with social media "likes" and facial recognition.
And Chase is just a programmed cute-bot, the product of polls and momentary memes. He lives in a virtual world, with his mother and his manager, Streeter (Ken Marino), acting as interfaces with reality. He has no opinions of his own and shills for whatever is presented to him.
When I first started watching this series, I thought it was unfunny, focusing on shallow characters. But by the second episode, I knew it was an acerbic satire. By episode four, it was apparent that the writers (Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider) are talented and gifted with an eye for insights. In their vision, the key to success is a cryptic code in an absurd Kafkaesque nightmare. And self=esteem is something granted by other vacuous wannabes. The show is a send-up of pop culture, virtue signaling, the cult of celebrity, narcissism, and what might be called Hollywood culture.
I read a review of the series "A. P. Bio" in which the critic wondered how it could be executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Lorne Michaels is also EP of this series and has made a bold choice to back SNL writers Kelly and Schneider. Fortunately, the humor of this series exceeds the standards of SNL in recent years.
A brief wrap-up after each episode features the show runners and the actors in informal conversation, providing back stories and personal observations.
The main characters are hapless and mostly clueless, but I enjoy watching them. Though they are totally without haps or clues, they are not so much tragic figures as they are comic foils, and the actors are up to the task. Watch for some fun cameos and bit parts.