Review: The Afterparty, "Hannah" | Season 2, Episode 4
A Royal Tenenbaums homage falls into the trap of privileging style over substance
It’s not The Afterparty’s fault that this episode came out after a massive social media trend to create videos in the style of Wes Anderson. But it does mean that it lands right at the end of a moment when homages to his distinct visual style were simply everywhere.
Where “Hannah” struggles is that Anderson is easy to imitate visually, as all those efforts proved, but very, very hard to imitate emotionally. What sings about a good Wes Anderson film (and particularly The Royal Tenenbaums, the obvious inspiration for a lot of the gags here) is that he’s able to use deadpan acting performances and the visually particular settings he places characters in to create an overwhelming sense of grief, or the wistfulness of a love story that isn’t going to work out, or the strained relationship between a parent and child. And “Hannah” shows the limitations of trying to match the careful balancing act that Anderson has managed.
So what we get is a lot of visual jokes—the font, the music, the satura…