The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks is an interesting new series that fits into AMC’s brand of intelligent programming and is the first piece of original content to come from the relatively new AMC Digital Studios. The show is unique and will instantly appeal to Wes Anderson fans with its style, narration and brand of humor. So much so, that after watching the opening credits I knew exactly what to expect.
The program follows the exploits of Arthur Banks (Adam Goldberg), a neurotic New York playwright who attempts to deal with his love life, which he in turn uses as inspiration for his latest play. To say Banks is a highly introspective and troubled Semite that would look familiar in a Woody Allen film is a fair assessment. He regularly visits his therapist (Jeffrey Tambor) as he strives for psychological and emotional balance.
In the first episode, Banks pulls a “Polanski” (which, in this case, means having consensual sex with an underage girl and, in this case, doesn’t mean sleeping with an underage girl after drugging her beyond the point of consciousness – in case you don’t follow the exploits of Roman Polanski). The sexual escapade soon causes the death of his current relationship.
The series is black and white and features great locations that make the visual style pop like noir. Likewise, the narration opens up the world and pushes the story along at a pace (and in a way) that’s perfect for the condensed time frames of the web. While I normally detest VO in my storytelling, I have to admit it ended up being my favorite part of the series.
Peter Glanz and Juan Iglesias wrote The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks and the three-episode series is available on AMC’s website and Hulu. If you like your comedic Jewish neuroses in black and white with tones of Anderson and voices from a Coen Brothers flick (or you just want to dance when you grow up), you gotta give it a watch.