The Book Group (Seasons 1 and 2)

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Easily the strangest show I’ve ever watched, “The Book Group” stars Anne Dudek (Amber the bitch on House) as a Clare, a girl from Ohio who moves to Glasgow. In an attempt to make friends, Clare starts a book group that contains some very, very strange characters. As they develop over the 12 episodes, I became fond of the oddball group. The group is dramatic, dumb, obnoxious, and sweet- and in the end I truly enjoyed the strange gathering despite the characters being not particularly likeable. I admit, as I watched the first episode, I was very on the fence about watching any more than that. In fact, I was quite convinced that I was not giving it any more thought, however the end of the last episode is so very genius (and uncomfortable) that I was hooked.

There is something quite unique about the shows ability to make you feel uncomfortable- both for yourself and the characters. I found myself cringing numerous times, baffled by certain behaviors, only to egg them on in the next scene. Also, though the show aired in the UK, there are a variety of languages spoken randomly and not always with subtitles. This is in addition to the heavy Irish accents which were beautiful but at times very difficult to understand.

One of many great interchanges:
Clare Pettengill: [after reading “The Little Engine that Could”] Barney, did you think that little engine was going to make it up that mountain?
Barney Glendenning: Mm. Yes, I did, Clare. After all, ’tis an American book.

The humor is rather dark and certainly more British than American. It is obvious that the show is not for everyone, however I do recommend it to anyone who likes very strange humor, laughing at uncomfortable situations, or just Irish accents!

Catch both seasons on Hulu now.

I give it 6 stars!

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