HBO Max recommended Barry to me, about a hitman turned actor. But I can't take any more "are they or aren't they" couples, so I did some internet sleuthing.
Variety: Antony Carrigan and Michael Irby play "the cutest gay mobster couple on tv."
No-Ho Hank (Antony Carrigan) gets 4th billing on IMDB, appearing in 30 episodes across four seasons. Is No-Ho short for No-Homo? I desperately hope not. Christopher Sifuentes (Michael Irby) appears more sporadically: 2 episodes in Season 1, 5 in Season 2, 6 in Season 3, and 2 in Season 4. He must be part of No-Ho Hank's story arc.
The Advocate review is upset becaue "No Ho Hank" is an "unsavory character," a ruthless killer. Well, who would you expect to be a hitman's friend, a florist?
Reddit has the usual: "Is he gay?", with about half of the responses saying "Obviously" and the other half saying "obviously not."
Newsweek notes that his big gay reveal comes in Season 3, Episode 1, so I reviewed that episode.
Scene 1: The wilderness. While someone named Jeff begs for forgiveness, Hitman Barry (Bill Hader, top photo) eats a sandwich. His bulky associate Charles asks for for a tool to cut his eyelids off with, so Barry rummages around in the trunk for some pliers.
"Did she tell you how big your cock is, Jeff?" Charles asks. Odd question -- why would Jeff need to be told the size of his own cock?
Suddenly Charles decides that, since Jeff asked for forgiveness, he's not going to kill or torture him. After all, his wife is partially responsible, too. This annoys Barry, so he shoots them both. Wait -- now you won't get paid.
Scene 2: Sally, who helpfully keeps a Hollywood sign on her desk, is reading the script for the latest episode of the tv series Joplin. She moves into the living room, where Barry is playing a video game (about a hit man?), and asks why he didn't come to bed last night. (This is Season 3; no doubt Barry's heterosexual identity was established way back in Season 1. It's only the gay guys who get a few seasons of hints and "is he or isn't he?" disputes). After some conversation about today's shooting on her show, she says "Love you!" and leaves.
Scene 3: The helpful sign "Plants!" tells us that we are at a plant nursery. A guy who was identified as Chechen in the "previous episode" montage is spraying water in a way that looks like he is peeing, har har. Three detectives approach and ask to see No-Ho Hank. The Chechen offers to fetch him, and runs through the greenhouse, yelling "Hide everything!"
Cut to the office. No-Ho Hank (Anthony Carrigan), a bald Lex Luthor type, is talking business with his bulky bald associate: they need more guys. I could use a few more guys, myself. The Chechen warns him about the cops, but he isn't upset, just a little nervous: "This is my first interrogation." A little swish in your walk, Dude, and that pinkie ring is rather flamboyant. These must be some of the "is he or isn't he" hints.
Scene 4: At the police station, No-Ho Hank claims that he knows nothing about the monastery shooting, or a dead detective with a pinback that says "The debt has been paid" in Chechen. "They hand them out at banks back home." Then he admits that the two cases are linked, and points out the man responsible in a photograph: The Raven, a Chechen mob enforcer: "The Raven lives in shadows. Who knows where he is?"
Scene 5: The Raven in a desert cabin in Chechnya, in his undershirt, pouring a bowl of cereal (Flaky Critters). But he's out of milk, so he goes out to milk his goat. He and his younger, bulkier boyfriend have breakfast and discuss how to get better tv reception: he hasn't missed an Ohio State game in 25 years. Boyfriend says that he can return to L.A. as soon as things cool off.
Scene 6: Whoa, Fonzie has grown up. The Elderly Fonzie, aka Gene Costineau (Henry Winkler), is at the police station, deciding which of the men in a photograph showed him Janice's body. Janice must be his Dead Wife. He points out the Raven.
"But the Raven must be working with Barry!" Fonzie insists. "Barry is responsible for everything bad that has every happened to me: my Dead Wife, my failed acting career..." All downhill after you jumped over that shark, huh? "But we cleared Barry." "He's working behind the scenes..." Ok, Boomer, time for your nap.
Scene 7: At home, Barry is scrolling through a hitman website, looking at the various ads from customers wanting someone to kill their friend, spouse, or boss. He answers one from a lady who wants her cheating husband offed, and asks what different colors mean in flowers. Weird! Dude, call a florist, or just google it.
Meanwhile, a middle-aged woman is watching one of Girlfriend Sally's scenes. She asked if Sally's character and another woman live together. Why, is there a lesbian subtext in the show? :No, they're mother and daughter."
More stuff about Sally that I'm skipping over. Eventually it's lunchtime, and Barry arrives with flowers. I'm skipping again, to the next No-Ho Hank scene.
Scene 8: No-Ho Hank arrives at a large house in the hills, enters the tiny living room, and sniffs a flower.
Someone is taking a shower; he sneaks in to the bathroom, opens the door -- and surprise! It's a guy, boyfriend Cristobal (Michael Irby), all shrieky and feminine: "You scared me!" he lisps. Geez, I'm watch a 1930s pansy character. If this guy has appeared in a number of episodes previously, why would anyone be shocked that he's gay?
"Guess who finally got a police interrogation?" No-Ho Hank asks proudly. "I think I aced it!"
"I told you, Hank, you've got to envision your future." Hank undresses and climbs into the shower with him (the scene cuts abruptly).
Scene 9: Hank and Cristobal are cuddling in bed, watching something on a laptop. They discuss buying property in Santa Fe, but Cristobal can't afford it until they rebuild: "Your boyfriend Barry killed all of my buddies." So Barry is working for a rival gang?
"He killed some of my buddies, too."
"Yeah, but you have a few left. I don't have any."
Scene 10: Late at night, No-Ho Hank goes out to the balcony to blow out some candles, and Barry is there! "I didn't know where else to go?" Hank orders him to leave...it's not a good time. Then they hear Cristobal's voice. Is Hank cheating on Christobal with Barry, or is Cristobal just angry because of the loss of his buddies?
Barry wants to know if Hank and Cristobal are an item now. "Yeah -- why, you jealous?"
"I just need a job. You don't have to tell anyone."
"But you shot most of my buddies, and then framed me. Why would I give you a job?" I agree: that's very weird. Barry pleads and cries, but Hank will have none of it, and tells him to "fuck off."
He leaves. Barry immediately gets a text from Elderly Fonzie, asking for some help "packing." A job! From someone who hates you? Be suspicious, Dude.
The camera pulls away from Elderly Fonzie, revealing that he has a gun. Uh-oh, Barry is a goner.
Scene 10: In the morning, Elderly Fonzie kisses his son and grandson (I assume), and says he'll meet them in the park later, if he has time. Ominous music plays as he grabs his briefcase.
Barry appears at his office. They discuss how his acting studio is closing after 15 years, and it's Barry's fault. Why, did he kill the students? Then Elderly Fonzie brings up the memory of seeing his Dead Wife's body, and being told that Barry was responsbile.
He pulls out a gun to kill Barry, but it falls apart! Barry takes the opportunity to grab him, take him into the desert, and kill him. He begs, pleads, and says "it's me!" before and after being shot in the head. Then Barry changes his mind, rolls back time, and says "I think I know how to make it up to you. Get back in the trunk." The end.
Beefcake: No-Ho Hank and Cristobal are shirtless.
Gay Characters: The big reveal, but No-Ho Hank has some gay-stereotype qualities, and Cristobal is a big ole screaming queen, so I'm surprised that anyone is surprised. There's also an intentional gay subtext betwen No-Ho Hank and Barry, played as a joke, which might help with the surprise: viewers would assume that the gay hints were just queerbaiting.
Left: Another episode shows Yandar (Nick Gracer), one of the Chechens, in the sauna. I assume that he's about to have oral sex wtih that guy, but no google search suggests that he is gay. Wikipedia reveals another flamboyant gay stereotype, a student in Elderly Fonzie's acting class.
Acting Stuff: Sally's story is the B-plot, taking an inordinate amount of screen time.
My Grade: C.