‘Barry’ Has Every Genre All At Once

by Frank Martin

One of the first things to be decided about a story is its genre. Not always, of course, but more often than not it is the foundation from which writers build off of. They decide they want to make a comedy, or a romance, or horror and the story flows from there. As time went on, writers have learned to blend these genres together. Something could be horror and comedy, or romance and action, or drama and sci-fi. But it’s quite difficult to do a story that’s every genre all at once. Yet somehow, the HBO series Barry manages to pull it off.

Barry is best described as a crime comedy. That mashup of genres is nothing new. There have been some great examples of the mixture over the years. But where Barry differs from anything else is the ways in which it stretches its genre so much that it enters different territory. There are elements of straight up drama, romance, and in its season finale, Barry has somehow managed to tap some hints of supernatural horror. It’s a bizarre moment within the show; one so ridiculously out of left field it can’t help but fit within its sphere of shocking transitions. Yet still, the show should be applauded for going in that direction at all.

That weird moment of suspense blended seamlessly into comedy, romance, and then tragedy. The show is so successful at blending genres and threading the needle between them all that it can somehow make its viewers laugh and cry at the same time. There is a downside to taking this approach, though. Some viewers won’t appreciate the mix. They may want one thing or the other and just might not enjoy the experiment of doing so many things at once. But for those willing to go along for the journey, Barry is truly great and a one-of-a-kind experience.

Barry is now streaming on HBO Max.

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