Good Luck & Don’t Panic
The first two episodes of Mr Corman begin with an introductory look at our main protagonist, Josh Corman. He’s a school teacher and currently in class talking to his students about success and the rarity of female leadership. It’s a brief chat in truth, one that’s interrupted by the school bell.
Josh lives a pretty uneventful life, but remains determined to try and break the shackles of monotony he’s stuck in. Despite riffing about possibly heading out and going to a bar to chat up women, he changes his mind and decide to sit and play video games with his roommate instead. For a bit anyway. Corman eventually snaps and heads out to visit Dax.
Dax is verified, succeeding with his music and managing to make a name for himself. Josh is pretty jealous in truth and wishes he had what he does. Josh isn’t drinking either, although he does manage to meet a girl at the bar.
The camera swings around the table as the pair talk, exuding exposition as we learn more about Josh. He’s from LA and both parents are currently working. Their small talk eventually leads to the pair hooking up. Only, things immediately go awry when Corman fails to “perform”. The pair spit venomous half-truths at each other, ending with Josh receiving a swift slap to the face for his trouble.
This could just be the slap Josh needs to snap out of his rut. He begins panicking, phoning in sick to work and struggling to keep it together. He tries to phone the doctors but after a big old ramble, admits he’s unable to afford healthcare and tries to muddle through as best he can.
It’s an interesting commentary on the American healthcare system (albeit a little on the nose) as Josh visits his friends and ends up taking pills to make himself feel better. At least for a little while anyway.
Back home Josh finds a credit card bill that seems to be as a result of his Father opening a card in his name. This still doesn’t appear to be the root cause of his panic and anxiety though, prompting him to seek further help.
Josh decides to attend a group session regarding anxiety and depression. There’s a number of different people there, with one lady claiming she feels very alone. This vibes with Josh who immediately identifies with her. He reaches out and holds her hand, a reinforced sign that he’s there for her, as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
Mr Corman is a strange kettle of fish. It’s a show that demands your attention to get the nuanced bits of exposition, hidden and tucked away behind a façade of weirdness, mundanity and strange fantastical sequences.
There are numerous spinning camera shots, fast edits, fantasy land singing and a whole bunch of thematic significance around the plot too.
The show itself plays out as both a character study and a jab at society – in particular American culture. There are numerous riffs (see: forced bits of social commentary) toward the school system, healthcare and finances which all feel tailored directly for Americans. However, the show is thankfully not outright alienating to everyone. In fact, there’s a lot with Josh’s character that people will resonate with.
Being stuck in a rut is a feeling echoed by many people… but it’s also a journey that’s been done numerous times on the small screen. And each and every single one of them have some sort of shining light or moment of cathartic release. Mr Corman by comparison feels – at least by these first two episodes – like a hopelessly mundane show. It’s also incredibly chaotic and sporadic, which I guess is the point.
Still, it’s early days so we’ll have to wait and see what the remains episodes have in store for us. So far though, this one gets off to a relatively indifferent start.