The opening episode conveys an odd tone, and some of the humor just doesn’t land, but this series has the potential to be so much more with clever plotting and a game cast.
This recap of the Hulu series This Fool season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
Co-creator and stand-up comedian Chris Estrada leads this Hulu Original as Julio Lopez, a spineless man-child, whose life is forever changed when ex-gang member and cousin Luis comes to stay after serving eight years in prison. This unique comedy series premieres on the streaming platform this summer, opening with “A Storm is Coming”, an episode that highlights the show’s scope for potential.
This Fool season 1, episode 1 recap
The series begins with Julio making a cup of tea in an elaborate, painstaking fashion. He still lives at home with his family and is berated by his mother to cover the roof with a tarp before it rains. They live in sunny South Central Los Angeles, so this seems like a bit of a stretch, but he’s coaxed into climbing onto the roof anyhow, where he fails his first job of the day. Julio’s morning only worsens when he tries to leave for work, but finds his drive is blocked by a gangster’s car. The coward decides to destroy his front garden and drive around the thugs instead of upsetting them. Do you see a pattern?
At work, Julio introduces a tattooed criminal to the Hugs Not Thugs program, where gang members are rehabilitated. This non-profit offers trust exercise, yoga classes and tattoo removal, just to name but a few of their many pluses. Julio shows the newbie around, which works as a nice setup, allowing us access to this odd world of angry inmates and hippy therapy classes. The series tries to garner laughs from these juxtaposing worlds, but not all the jokes work.
Julio leaves at the end of the day, but his ex-girlfriend Maggie (Michelle Ortiz) steals his car before his very eyes, leaving him without a set of wheels. Poor Julio must therefore take the bus to pick up his cousin Luis from prison. Luis will be staying with Julio at their family home and Julio is entrusted with finding Luis work as he also signs up for the Hugs Not Thugs program. Luis is an immature criminal stuck in the past, constantly calling Luis ‘gay’ and finding any number of ways to insult his cousin. Their childish rivalry kick starts the moment they are reunited and plagues this opening instalment.
The next morning, Julio makes his usual elaborate cup of coffee, whilst Luis just shoves his mug in the microwave. This illustrates their opposing personalities, which works as the starting point for this comedy series. At orientation, the non-profit’s founder Minister Payne (The Sopranos star Michael Imperioli) explains how they make money by selling cupcakes and all these harden criminals are tasked with baking up some delicious treats. Luis burns his first batch and storms off having failed on his first attempt.
Back at the house, Luis fixes the roof tiles and continues to insult Julio further. The next day, Julio gets his own back, feeling more confident in his own work environment. He passes Luis a fire extinguisher as a joke and motivates his cousin into producing some perfectly formed cupcakes. Julio lies though and calls them awful, which leads to another argument. Here, Minister Payne steps in and forces Julio to apologize.
With the help of Maggie, Julio drives around searching for Luis after their falling out. He finds him sat at a bus stop and the two make up. Luis confesses to just wanting normality in his life again, finding comfort in his bickering with his cousin. Julio admits that his cupcakes were great and they head home. But those damned gangsters are outside his house once more. Julio decides to stand up for himself and marches over. He faces up to them and realizes that he won’t be a doormat any longer. The criminals aren’t deterred by Julio’s crazy antics, but they flee as soon as it rains. The grandmother was right, a storm was coming. Julio looks reborn as the rain falls on his face.
“A Storm is Coming” feels very much like a pilot episode, with the show still trying to find its feet. Some of the humor falls flat, but this series has heart and looks likely to develop from these humble begins into something much more. The writing is top notch and the visuals are cinematic at times, hopefully the series can continue to grow from this episode onwards and progress into the hit series it definitely has the potential to become.
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