WarningMight contain spoilers.

A witty, engrossing, and self-aware show stuffed with laugh-out-loud humour and a dash of emotion. It uses the overarching murder mystery with aplomb to flit between genres with ease, skill, and affection even as it builds anticipation and introduces twist upon twist. A sense of lighthearted joy pervades the entire affair. The performances are impressive on their own and even more so considering the constant transformations: Tiffany Haddish is one of my favourites, but it would be remiss of me not to mention Dave Franco and Ben Schwartz’s gleeful commitment to their hilarious parts, or how Jamie Demetriou’s deliciously strange performance as Walt draws one in.

Dave Franco walks a tightrope at the center of the show, keeping the side-splittingly hilarious Xavier just about believable. He’s at his best in ‘Chelsea’: witness his mini-speech (Started at the upper-middle, now we at the top!) or how Chelsea has to make him stop drinking the roofie drink (Uh, so like, sip instead of gulp?) and do it again after their conversation. His obliviousness, selfishness, and callousness provide ample, comprehensible motives to all his classmates.

Zoë is a curiously flat character as Aniq’s love interest. I almost thought it was deliberate. Even when nearly the entire cast are shown to have been unlikable children in school, she remains practically angelic. It’s not as though she needed to have a dark secret, but her episode lends her no depth. (And the animation was quite disappointing considering Christopher Miller’s experience: mediocre execution of a good concept, especially her multiple selves, in an ugly style and with no motivation for the use of the medium.)

The attention to detail in all the differing stories is commendable, like how Brett doesn’t run from Zoë in Chelsea’s memory (where she herself remembers having long, coherent conversations with everyone) and how he doesn’t care about Aniq in his own memory; or the young, not-yet-disillusioned Yasper saying, You only get one shot.

Good on Danner for believing Willow and even passing on information to her lawyer, but one has to wonder how she climbed to the position of detective after all that. I like the guest stars in her convoluted history: Fred Savage,[1] Reid Scott, Barbie Ferreira, and (briefly) Corey Reynolds[2] all turn in good performances in an episode with an interesting texture compared to the others. Meanwhile, John Early had me giggling at Detective Culp’s vacillation between emotions in Zoë’s episode and guffawing at his frustrated screams in the finale.

The songs in Yasper’s episode are rather good (except ‘Three Dots from Stardom’). Walt struggling to keep up with the choreography had me in splits; so did Yasper stealing his spotlight with Now it’s time for my verse. I suppose someone had to be the villain, and Ben Schwartz makes it believable. As sad as it is to see Yasper’s pain, frustration, and entitlement lead him down that path, it makes for a satisfying and unexpected conclusion that unfolds patiently and intelligently. I don’t know that Zoë and Aniq trying to recapture the past will work, but everyone’s been through a lot and has earned the right to (immediately) move forward.

Maggie is just a touch irritating but still a cute kid. Her saccharine recounting of Brett’s misadventures made me chuckle, and ended quickly enough to keep it from grating. Although the absence of an interview with Ned is unremarkable since his story is straightforward, it’s a shame Walt doesn’t get one. The others are disproportionately cruel towards him, in a disinterested fashion. At least he gets everyone to remember his name in the end.

The literal pissing contest in the second episode is disgusting.

  1. How I miss The Grinder .
  2. Sheriff Mike from Resident Alien.