HBO’s ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Joyful Unholy ‘Estate’ Returns and Wilder Than Ever


Replace boardrooms with mega-churches, private planes and limousines with ox-horned Cadillacs and glitzy party buses, and dapper suits and designer dresses with leopard-print shoes and hats white cowboys, The right gems is a whimsical Southern televangelist variation on Succession.

Returning to HBO for its second season on January 9, Danny McBride’s alternately absurd and heartfelt skewer of those who peddle religion for profit is a mind like the dramatic powerhouse of the cable network, plagued by male dysfunction. toxic and hostile tensions between deserving sons who want to inherit their fathers’ empires (and earn their love) while simultaneously establishing their own independence. In the same vein as McBride East and down and Deputy Directors, it’s a portrayal of pathetically insane narcissistic men and fiery women who can’t resist them, and in its latest edition, it raises the bar in almost every way.

As evidenced by the opening scene of its second season, The right gems Nor has he lost his penchant for frontal nudity, and the fact that his first photo of a penis is accompanied by someone remarking: “Hey, that’s a nice cock!” shows that he takes great pleasure in his childishness. Such glee is part of the fun of McBride’s show, which (produced and directed by longtime collaborators David Gordon Green and Jody Hill) shows a frenzied desire to do the craziest thing possible at any given moment. That’s about the plethora of fun storylines that run through this nine-part tale, but it’s also true of its dialogue, which is chock-full of secular insults that seem to have been concocted by legitimately demented individuals. Which, of course, is, at least fictitiously, since the gems and their many friends and foes are all carved out of similar bonkers fabric.

A brief prologue to the premiere episode reveals that Gemstone Patriarch Eli (John Goodman) first made a living as a Memphis wrestler known as the Maniac Kid, and that during his off hours, he used to break the fingers of his promoter, boss Glendon (Wayne Duvall) with the help of this man’s son, Junior. In the present tense, Junior (now played by Eric Roberts with Snake Oil Salesman charm) reappears in Eli’s life and quickly rekindles his more violent side, strengthening his sense of strength and causing him to give up all. idea of ​​giving the keys to his kingdom to his children. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t suit his eldest son Jesse (McBride), who, along with his loyally scheming wife Amber (Cassidy Freeman), intends to take over the Family Ministry. To show he’s worthy, Jesse cements a partnership with Texan televangelist Lyle Lissons (Eric Andre) to build a tropical Christian beach resort dubbed Zion’s Landing. Problem is, he needs $ 10million to do it, and he doesn’t have the money, and he can’t convince his dad to lend it to him, because he claimed he was managing this business alone.

As a more unhinged and less talented buffoon than his father, Jesse’s dilemma is that he wants to put Eli on the pasture and yet desperately needs his help and covets his approval, and this push-pull is the lifeblood of The right gems, whose new tale is replete with further discord between parents and offspring. Jesse’s brother Kelvin (Adam Devine) still tries to prove his manhood to Eli through rampant homoerotic means, this time via a divine squad of hyper-muscular servants overseen by his bizarre reformed Satanist toy boy BFF Keefe (Tony Cavalero) . Sister Judy (Edi Patterson) falls into her own nurturing dynamic with Tiffany (Valyn Hall), the pregnant wife of Baby Billy (Walton Goggins, stealing every scene), who herself has a dark history of fatherly abandonment. Junior has long been estranged from his abusive Glendon pop. And like Jesse, Lyle is a “firstborn” who pushed his own father aside to take over his religious organization.

Everyone in The right gems has an evil daddy who won’t provide the affection and assistance needed, resulting in self-loathing, bitterness, and psychotic behavior – and when they don’t, the show portrays its characters as simple clowns clinging to their manhood. Nowhere is the show’s bashing of the show’s macho attitudes funnier than with Judy’s tasteless husband BJ (Tim Baltz), whose name is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on his emasculated nature, and who is eager to demonstrate his loyalty. to the Gemstone clan by being baptized against the wishes of his own agnostic family. It ends with a lavish ceremony and party where BJ wears what may be the funniest outfit in recent memory, and it reinforces the idea that he is the Tom Wambsgans of this clan, if Tom was a ridiculously effeminate idiot obsessed with expressing his Y-chromosomal value while making sure to speak and act in gender-friendly terms.

“BJ wears what may be the funniest outfit in recent memory… he’s the Tom Wambsgans of this clan, if Tom was a ridiculously effeminate idiot obsessed with expressing his Y chromosome value at the same time he makes sure to speak and act in gender-friendly terms.“

The appearance of curious New York journalist Thaniel (Jason Schwartzman) is a catalyst for even more chaos, though The right gems truly thrives on its litany of choice one-liners; to repeat any of them here would be disappointing, because the beauty of McBride, Green and Hill’s small screen triumph is the way it presents its exaggerated exclamations in perfectly obscene and absurd storylines. McBride’s Jesse is the corrupt soul of these proceedings, his arrogant greed and ambition almost as great as his pathetic desire for validation from his father and peers (whom he laughs at). It is complemented by one of the best actors on television, Patterson in particular showing himself to be more than willing to match his male counterparts in the Me First vulgarity department. Her Judy is as terribly deranged as her fellow swingers, which makes her a bond with BJ, often the show’s best source for comedy.

Gemstones might be horrible people, but The right gems nonetheless empathizes with their pity, treating them less as hateful villains and more like prankster jerks pushed and / or raised to trample the competition in order to get what they want, and to use Christ (and goodness of devotees) as a means to their own ends. It’s hard to imagine godly Americans – the kind who frequent the arenas every Sunday to hear the word of God, or who watch Joel Osteen and his ilk on television preach to the masses – enjoying this portrayal of the church, which is anything but flattering. That said, even they might find pleasure in McBride and the company’s brand of unbridled humor, in which everyone is a walking punchline destined to receive a punch – or, as in the most hilarious piece by the season, an explosion of baby vomited in the face.


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