If you haven’t been watching The Righteous Gemstones, I am excited for you. I am excited for you to get an idea of what uninhibited creativity can look like. There is no other show right now taking the risks that Danny McBride and company are taking on Sunday nights. I’ve loved everything that the trio of McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green have done together (Eastbound and Down is my favorite show of all time) but even with that built in good will I have for them, this season of The Righteous Gemstones is easily one of the greatest achievements they’ve ever made together. I liked the first season of Righteous Gemstones. I LOVE this season. Yeah I’m being sensationalist but if that’s what I gotta do to get you to tune in then that’s what I gotta do.
Some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen have been in this season – Baby Billy tearfully flipping off the family he’s abandoned and driving away and making a tight turn and flipping over the trailer full of health elixirs he’s shilling, the vomiting gag in outside the hospital, and one of the God Squad yelling “GET ME A DAMN MEDIC” in front of an audience of children. I think about these moments several times a day and laugh every single time.
The whole cast is nailing it this season. Everybody knows exactly what to do with their characters in any given scene. Walton Goggins as Baby Billy Freeman continues to be one of the greatest performances of all time. Every single cutaway to Jody Hill’s Levi has made me laugh this season. Every single line Edi Patterson says is hilarious. All Sklyer Gisondo has to do is show up and I think he’s funny. Newer additions like Eric Andre, Wayne Duvall and Eric Roberts are having a blast. They give a lot more material to the character of Eli Gemstone this season, and John Goodman has been nothing short of incredible this season. What he’s doing with this arc is one of the greatest performances you can see right now.
There’s also not a show that’s been as willing to reinvent itself in both form and style from scene to scene like Righteous Gemstones has. It’s totally willing to abandon any traditional sense of reality, and it’s remarkable. I’m thinking of how they film a key scene between Kelvin and Keefe like it’s Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, or how they shoot BJ’s memory of a montage of rollerblading like an 80s music video – these polar opposite styles are in the same episode! The entire God Squad arc is a prime example of them not being afraid to do the most ridiculous ideas they have.
It’s just so damn liberating to watch something on one of the biggest networks/streamers that is this unafraid to leave casual viewers by the wayside. It’s fearless television, and there just isn’t enough of that these days.