GREAT NEWS Review: “Carol Has a Bully” / “Carol’s Eleven”

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ends its first season with two episodes that focus more on rushing through a lot of plot development rather than focusing on the comedy. While it’s good to see that the show can sustain a multi-episode story arc, these two episodes didn’t quite reach the highs of last week— “The Red Door” remains the best episode of the show and perhaps the only one that truthfully be referred to as flat-out hilarious. But these final two episodes made me excited for season two, as they examine the mother-daughter relationship that drives the series.

Katie’s still working on her hacking story, but can’t crack it. She knows that Biscuit Blitz was a front used to mine data from people’s phone, but can’t find the corporation or person who owns the app. Carol is struggling as well—she’s technically enrolled in school, which qualifies her to work an unpaid internship, but she hasn’t been since the first class, preferring to spend the day playing The View themed slot machines in Atlantic City with Angie. And Greg is on edge, as his intimidating grandmother, Gram (Christina Pickles), a terrifying British woman.

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I’ll admit, I basically forgot that Carol was supposed to be enrolled in school. The show has never mentioned it past the first episode, until now. So it’s a bit hard to accept the fact that she might be failing as a dramatic, high stakes situation, which is how Katie reacts to it. If Carol doesn’t pass her midterm and stay in school, it could put the show in jeopardy. Katie decides to skip analyzing the financial documents in the hacking story to help her mom study, thinking of “funky and fresh” raps to teach her the basics of journalism, just like her mom used to do to help her learn fractions.

But all her hard work is for nothing, as Carol ends up failing the class anyways—she fails and there seems to be no consequences at work, so why did anyone care that much? Katie gets scooped on the hacking story—rival anchors Chip and Chet, the delightful two best friends/co-hosts, break the story, then celebrate with Phish tickets. Katie blames her mom for distracting her, asking her if deciding to drop out of college when Katie was born was absolutely necessary, or just a convenient excuse she could use to quit without guilt. Carol tells her it was a sacrifice, not an excuse.

Carol and Katie’s relationship might be unhealthily codependent, but Greg and Gram’s is worse. Gram’s an ice queen with such a commanding presence that Greg trembles in conversations with her. She also happens to own the network. Greg moved to America after he embarrassed himself on British TV, hoping that by doing well on The Breakdown, he could prove that he’s not a screw-up and be accepted back in the fold. He says it’s lonely spending Christmas alone at the Olive Garden— “they say when you’re here, you’re family, but they don’t mean it.”

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At dinner with Greg and Chuck, Gram announces that she’s making his brother the president of the news division. Greg finally stands up to her, an action that she’s so impressed by she gives him the promotion instead and invites him to spend some ridiculous British holiday at her estate. She tells him not to let his employees walk all over him, making it the worst possible time for Carol to ask for lenience regarding being in school and for Katie to defend her. Gram fires Katie, but keeps Carol.

After lounging around at Carol’s house, where she’s moved back in as she can’t afford rent without a , Katie realizes that Gram must be the one who owns Biscuit Blitz. She references something similar in an episode of the British version of Shark Tank. Since being fired, Katie’s been needing extra support from her mother, but Carol finally gives her some tough love, telling her to go out there and make things happen. Katie’s insecurities have been a bit grating—they’re absolutely warranted after a firing, but her self-doubt throughout the season has prevented her from being a completely engaging star. Hopefully she takes Carol’s tough love to heart.

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Katie tells Greg, who’s hospitalized after a panic attack, that Gram is behind the app. They confront her, but she tells them that if they try to discuss the shocking revelation on the air, she’ll shut down the show and cancel it. So they devise an elaborate plan to trick her, staging a fake show in the studio while Chuck does his own broadcast from the roof. The plan works flawlessly, with the one hiccup being everyone credits Gene with the operation’s success instead of Katie.

Katie and Greg, thinking that the show will be cancelled, are about to share a kiss when Justin bursts in to tell them that the board of directors voted Gram off the board and the show might be ok after all. Of course it will be ok, we have a whole second season coming up in fall! Great News has found its voice as the season went on and I’m excited to see it mature and develop further in only a few short months.

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Season 1, Episode 09-10 (S01E09-10)
Great News airs Tuesdays at 900PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of Great News here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jtrof
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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