Comedy and Tragedy are commonly viewed as the polar extremes that mark life’s ultimate contrast of joy and despair. Although I have more of a flair for writing the dramatic, I have an appreciation for humor and how tricky it can be to execute. It takes remarkable skill to extract amusement from an otherwise tragic situation and that’s precisely what Brent Spiner and his supporting cast have achieved in Fresh Hell—now in its second season. The premise of the series is based on a celebrity’s shameful fall from grace (a frequent occurrence nowadays), but it also transcends the realm of wild celebrity debacle and touches upon a deeper issue to which the public can relate.
At some point or another, one finds him or herself at a crossroads where they’ve become obsolete or is faced with a drastic decline in fortune. The past few years have proven how scarily delicate the state of financial and social stability can be and that all can be lost practically overnight. From there on out, they find themselves at the precipice of the unknown, which is a disheartening and frustrating position to be in. Furthermore, they find themselves in a state of desperation as they grasp for the dissipating remnants of their former glory, often resorting to activities they’d otherwise dismiss.
The perseverance of Brent’s character not only presents a message of fortitude and dogged determination, it also makes way for an endless possibility of encounters with some rather colorful people. If I had to guess, I’d say that his hell is the fact that no matter how hard he tries to convey his perception of the depth of his craft, nearly everyone around him seems unwilling—or unable—to understand. Even so, there is an ironic twist which hints that there’s at least one person with whom he can identify on some level. Suddenly, he finds himself compelled to save more than just his career.
Fresh Hell delivers a poignant message enshrouded in a quirkiness that offsets the presence of what, for most, is a very serious reality. In fact, I’m not sure if this could be executed in any other way without losing the comedic element.
There’s a possibility I’m reading too much into the premise, but I think it reflects something that I’ve been pondering for quite awhile. Over the years I’ve seen a steepening decline in the quality of entertainment as well as the definition of celebrity. At one time, talent was a primary part of the criteria, aside from image. Now, in order to become famous, talent is no longer the ultimate deciding factor, nor is moral depth. In fact, quite the opposite is celebrated along with bad behavior. As a result, the most popular forms of entertainment—reality television especially—is loaded with superficiality, overindulgence and sexual objectification. This leads me to wonder if, perhaps, the risqué content in Fresh Hell was added as a bold statement in response to this growing issue.
The cast seems more comfortable in their roles since season one. Additionally, the series promises to deliver special treats in the form of celebrity guests and interesting plot developments. It’ll be interesting to see how the Fresh Hell storyline continues to unfold. I can only hope that others will keep an open mind and realize that there’s more to this series than the frivolity that coats the surface.
For more about Fresh Hell, you can visit the newly built website at: www.freshhellseries.com