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Blunt Talk is sort-of in the same vein as a lot of shows about larger-than-life and fictional TV hosts. It looks at life in the high-paced world of TV production and focuses on an interesting and unique TV personality (not unlike stuff like The Newsroom). Regardless, it’s unlike any other show of its ilk. The brainchild of Bored To Death creator Jonathan Ames (who is also the showrunner on this project) and Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane (who is executive producing), Blunt Talk is about as eccentric as you might expect, with a character who is prone to outlandish behavior but is just odd enough to pull it off without ever coming across as a cliché.
Blunt Talk is mostly about the life and times of Walter Blunt, played by Patrick Stewart. An educated man, throughout the first four episodes made available to us for review, Stewart has intriguing conversations about the Falklands War and Wallis Simpson, an historical figure he greatly admires. Despite his intelligence and his position in life, he’s a man who seems fairly bored (just not to death) with his life.
Patrick Stewart is not an actor who has built a career around comedic roles. He’s most known for Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Men franchise films, but he’s been working with MacFarlane for more than a decade on projects including Ted 2, A Million Ways To Die in the West and Family Guy. Though, he’s not known for headlining comedy, Stewart has managed to embrace the genre with arms wide open. It helps that Blunt Talk is a weird hybrid between moments that are equally funny and absurd. Plus, although Blunt Talk focuses on and around the daily life of Walter Blunt, it’s the extended ensemble cast that turns the Starz comedy into something weird and wonderful.
I have no idea how the creative team managed to entice this group to come together. Adrian Scarborough plays Blunt’s best friend and valet Harry. Jacki Weaver, fresh off a stint on Gracepoint, plays a member of Blunt’s work team named Rosalie. Tim Sharp adds some weirdness as another TV employee named Jim. (Actors Karan Soni and Mary Holland also pop up in the office a lot). Except Harry, they are all sidenotes to Walter’s antics, but there is enough fleshing out of the characters to get me excited for what’s coming next, especially regarding Rosalie’s relationship with her husband, Teddy (Ed Begley Jr.).
Broad plots throughout the first few episodes of the brand new Starz comedy range from narcotic drug use that nearly seems to kill our protagonist, getting caught with a prostitute, and getting up to shenanigans with a porn creator. Lesser shows like this often feature the same types of characters over and over (See: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), but it’s clear that Walter Blunt is a different sort of character--he’s just on a separate wavelength from most of us and his celebrity status supports his less positive attributes. As such, Blunt Talk is a whole lot different than most other shows. It’s weird, it’s wacky and sometimes it’s even incredibly funny, in a way that is larger-than-life.
Three final notes on Walter Blunt: He has a predilection for taking any sort of drug. He’s the only modern character on television I can think of who still has a valet, unless you’re counting the animated Sterling Archer, whose “man” Woodhouse is expected to return next season. Finally, he’s a man who occasionally has extremely profound things to say. The best comedies are often about more than entertainment, and when Blunt Talk is having a moment, it’s extremely fulfilling and complex. May it live long and prosper for as longer as it manages to stay that way.
Blunt Talk stars Patrick Stewart, Adrian Scarborough, Timm Sharp, Jacki Weaver and Dolly Wells. It will hit the schedule on Saturday, August 22 at 9 p.m. ET and will air in a block with Survivor’s Remorse, which will premiere its second season that night at 9:30. You can learn more about the drama over at Starz’s site and see what else is coming out this fall here.