Premièred by Home Box Office The Brink season one - head writer(s): Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib Episode one: Pilot by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib Episode two: Half-Cocked by Robert Benabib and Kim Benabib Episode three: Baghdad my Ass by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib Episode four: I'll Never be Batman by Dave Holstein Episode five: Swim, Shmuley, Swim by Jack Kukoda Episode six: Tweet Tweet Tweet by Sam Forman Episode seven: Sticky Wicket by Aasif Mandvi Episode eight: Who's Grover Cleveland? by Wes Jones Episode nine: Just a Little Crazy Talk by Robert Benabib, Kim Benabib and Dave Holstein Episode ten: There will be Consequences by Robert Benabib, Kim Benabib and Dave Holstein
Going into The Brink might be a little trying – there’s Jack Black as the lead, for a start. And a lot of the humour is quite culturally, recognisably frat-type. Most of the jokes are either sexual or racial, but the comedy is knowingly ironic. Like the best political sitcoms, it’s aware that the characters are idiots. Even to an extent President Julian Navarro, who runs his cabinet room like a school business class.
The highlight is Aasif Mandvi, famous for shouting “GO!” at Tobey Maguire. He’s even executive-produced the season, and has written some episodes. Most of his character’s dialogue tends to be either calling Black’s Alex Talbot out on his “you people”-ing, or investing an unrequited friendship in him. Surprisingly, I’m not going to do one of my infamous over-analyses about the way this comments on exploitation of foreign countries by the United States, for the simple reason of it not being there.
But the season does have a very unique plot structure. For the most part, episodes are ten-minute mini-episodes set in the White House, the USS Ulysses S. Grant and the Middle East. And it seems like the script editing process broke them up and has scenes cutting between them. But that makes the show feel BIG, especially since the three character groups rarely crossover. Of note, there’s a nice mini-trilogy in there featuring Rob Brydon and Doctor Who‘s Michelle Gomez. They were the best part of the season.
It’s not on the scale of The Thick of It, In the Loop or Veep, because the comedy outshines the political game. But that’s still, at times, quite surprisingly exciting.