It was announced last week that GREAT NEWS was picked up for a second season, which really is great news, because these two episodes were by far the funniest episodes the show has done in its freshman run. The first, “The Red Door”, was superior to the second, but both benefited from excellent work from the ensemble, who’ve grown into their roles quickly and comfortably, and an willingness to be completely, appealing weird.
The first episode worked so well because every story beat built upon the one before it, ending in a gloriously insane moment that had me laughing so hard I almost cried. Portia’s phone was hacked—she’s one in a long list of celebrities hacked that month. She asks her coworkers to not read the emails or look at the photos published, which Greg and Katie initially support…until curiosity drives them crazy and they make up a flimsy excuse to check them out. They find lots of emails disparaging Chuck, but one titled “office goss” that claims Greg and Katie are “boning”.
Greg and Katie decide to put the rumors to rest by addressing them head on, but no one else in the office thought they were sleeping together. No one else even thinks that the two of them are having sex with anyone, at all. In fact, Beth claims to remember Greg telling her that he had no genitals at all. Beth is on fire this week—Wigfield softened the character from its first couple of outings. She’s still a weirdo, but a funny one rather than a caustic one. This week, we learn that she grew up in a home for peculiar children, her middle name is “Barf”, and she’s submitted to Hustler, but her pictures were rejected because they found her bedroom too depressing.
Meanwhile, Carol is drafted by Chuck to wait at his house for the cable guy, with her sole instruction being not to open the red door in his living room. Of course, Carol eventually opens the door, revealing a wax figure of Chuck. He bought it from Madame Tussauds, the famed wax museum. After his ace reporting on the Menendez brothers trial, he was a celebrity and up for a promotion. Madame Tussauds made a wax figure of him, placing it between Kurt Cobain and Austin Powers. But when he was passed over for the promotion and his fame cooled, they replaced him with Air Bud.
Chuck bought the wax figure instead of letting the museum melt it down, but he decides to finally get rid of it. Only Carol can’t get rid of it—she can’t get rid of anything and she’s turned the roof into a storage space for her extreme couponing haul, as if she gets a second hoarding shed, she’ll be forced to see Dr. Jill again. She places Chuck’s wax figure near the Yankee candles—because they have a lot of common—positioning it so it’s looking over the edge of the roof.
The news team thinks the wax figure is the real Chuck, driven to suicide by the mean things Portia wrote about him. They all take turns telling Chuck how much they love him and respect him—it’s all very funny in its earnestness and because you just know it’s building to something ridiculousness. Katie finally gets on the roof and tries to move the wax figure, which the onlookers interpret as her trying to save Chuck…until she accidentally pushes it off the roof. The real Chuck waves at the crowd, telling him he’s alive because they all believed in him, to weak applause. It’s perfectly done insanity.
In the second episode, Katie chases a lead in the celebrity hacking story, chatting with a secret source who claims the hacking is part of something bigger. Greg discourages her from pursuing a story based on an anonymous internet source, but she meets with him anyways—only to find out that it’s an eleven-year-old boy. To show Greg that she’s not the only one who occasionally has bad instincts, she shows the staff an old news broadcast from Scotland, where Greg failed to find the Loch Ness monster in an embarrassing fashion.
Turns out, Katie’s instincts may have been right. With some help from Greg, she goes back to the child—his father works for a cyber security firm and the hacking could be linked to an app people downloaded. And, wouldn’t you know it, Carol is working on a news story about a popular app, Biscuit Blitz, at the same time. After Chuck’s phone is hacked after she downloads the game for him—the one and only app he has—Katie puts two and two together and figures out that Biscuit Blitz is how the hackers are stealing information.
It looks like this big story will play out over the final two episodes of the season next week. It’s also possible that Greg and Katie’s relationship could be developed further—their chemistry was on display this week. It’s exciting to see such a promising show finally hit its stride.
Season 1, Episode 07-08 (S01E07-08)
Great News airs Tuesdays at 900PM on NBC
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor