What’s the deal with Bliss, Idaho, and why are we leaving it so soon? I think the answer is that there is no deal.
According to Patience Owen, Leaving Bliss‘ main character (played by Shanna Micko), Bliss has a population of 275, “well 275 and 1/2. Peggy Johnson just had a baby girl!” The Wikipedia entry for Bliss (yes, it’s a real town) also show’s the population at 275. Someone’s been doing their homework!
Directed by Steve Yager, this is your typical and often done small city girl leaves home to go and make it big as an actress in Hollywood story. From the website: “When Patience Owen leaves her home town of Bliss, Idaho to pursue her dream of being a Hollywood actor, her family is less than supportive, and what she finds in Los Angeles isn’t exactly what she had expected.”
If it didn’t work for Joey, why do they think its going to work here? Well, for one, Leaving Bliss doesn’t have to compete for an audience with American Idol. And two, the series might have something a little more going on than it’s cliched premise. There is, after all, some foreshadowing of Patience giving “hj’s for crack” after only five months of being in Hollywood. At least I hope it was foreshadowing, since that alone is something that will keep me coming back.
Micko looks and plays the Pollyanna part well, with big glasses, a Mormon haircut, and some crazy looking pink, hard plastic, flower belt thing that I am sure is all the rage with the ladies of central Idaho. There’s also plenty of other subtle and not so subtle humor throughout.
In the scene just before Patience leaves Bliss, we see her frail and shaky Grandma watching some TV with the kids. Defending Patience’s decision to go she says to a cynic, “Hush your mouth girl, she’s got a talent and a love for Jesus like you’ll never have…Y’all hush the f!#k up, Sajak’s on!”
As I’m sure you can guess, not all goes well for Patience. Shortly after arriving in Hollywood her wallet is stolen leaving her without means to take the bus to her new apartment. This bad turn of events for Patience turns out to be a good turn of events for us as it leads up to one of the better filmed and more enjoyable moments of Frotteurism that I’ve seen. Thanks for that Leaving Bliss! I don’t think her abuse of Nutter Butters and hot cocoa as comfort foods will help her out after this one, but the girl’s got one helluva positive outlook on life.
So, yeah, how many times has the same old story of a poor girl from nowhere U.S.A. heading out to strike it big as an actress been told? A lot. And how many of these real life Patiences really do end up giving their version of hj’s for crack? I’m guessing a lot. So, maybe it’s such a popular story because there are so many people out there who can relate.
And, despite the overused premise, Leaving Bliss is off to a decently entertaining start with some always appreciated, sometimes subtle perverted humor. With only two episodes up so far, Patience’s unconditional heartwarming hope gives the series a lot of room to explore. Seeing the Bliss-girl broken by the entertainment industry would be just as entertaining as seeing her come out smiling on top.