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TV/Film Reviews

TV Review: FXX’s “DAVE” Season 2

What might look like a lighthearted comedy about an aspiring rapper on the outside, look a little deeper and see that “DAVE” has really upped the ante this time around.

Where and when to watch: Season 2 of “DAVE” premieres Wednesday, June 16 at 10PM PT/ET on FXX, streaming next day on FX on Hulu

Cast: Dave Burd, Taylor Misiak, GaTa, Andrew Santino, Travis Bennett, Christine Ko

Creators: Dave Burd, Jeff Schaffer

Executive Producers: Dave Burd, Jeff Schaffer, Saladin K. Patterson, Ben Sinclair, Luvh Rakhe, Kevin Hart and Hartbeat Productions, Scooter Braun, Greg Mottola, Marty Bowen, Mike Hertz, SB Projects’ James Shin and Scott Manson

Season 2 Guest Stars: Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Benny Blanco, Rae Sremmurd, J Balvin, Lil Yachty, CL, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Kevin Hart, and more

For what might look like a lighthearted comedy about an aspiring rapper on the outside, look a little deeper and see that “DAVE” has really upped the ante this time around.

Whatever you think you’re going to see in the first episode of the sophomore season of “DAVE,” go ahead and throw that out the window right now. For what might look like a lighthearted comedy about an aspiring rapper on the outside, look a little deeper and see that “DAVE” has really upped the ante this time around.

Season one laid a really solid foundation for this group of characters, fleshing each character out and diving into their personalities and individual struggles. As you can probably guess, all of that background information is going to be vital heading into these next episodes.

From the very start, you’re in for a flurry of chaos from all around. Lil Dicky is still working on his album, so there’s that continuous dilemma going on. The pressure is mounting with all these outside forces pushing him for his next move. Last season, we saw Dave grappling with the internal conflicts that come on the ladder to success. The difference now, though, is that he has the record deal and the famous friends, so it’s time to deliver. There’s still internal pressure, for sure, but a lot of that is a result of the outside pressure weighing down on him.

Along with the higher stakes, the tone is much more serious this time around, and the situations these characters face have real consequences. Some of the issues from season one, might not have involved as many moving parts and could be resolved by the end of the next episode or so. Now, there are high pressure situations going on that impact the grand scheme of things. Dave has to learn how to move forward without Ally by his side 24/7, and Elz’s own career is on the rise as a producer, causing Dave’s support system to be in jeopardy.

Along with the higher stakes, the tone is much more serious this time around, and the situations these characters face have real consequences.

Season one touched on this in the latter half, but going forward, there are deep rooted issues among this group of friends and collaborators that need to be addressed. Everyone has their own battles that they’re facing, and seeing them cross paths on their journey is where it gets really interesting.

Season 2 of “DAVE” tackles a lot of issues facing society and the entertainment industry right now including cultural appropriation, cancel culture, mental health, and fame. This allows them to explore ways that the music business and entertainment are being shaped by the times we’re living in. For what might look like a lighthearted comedy about an aspiring rapper on the outside, “DAVE” has really upped the ante this time around.

This season really challenges what we have learned to know and love about each character individually. In surprising ways, it’s as if the show runners went into this season intending for audiences to expect the unexpected.

As you can probably expect from that season 1 finale, Dave and Ally’s breakup is still very much a prevalent storyline; just another example of how consequences roll over and have more of an impact this season.

Countless shows use guest stars that are A-list music stars or high-profile celebrities as a means to attract viewers and see an uptick in their ratings. However, the guest stars on “DAVE” are so purposeful and strategically placed at points throughout the show in ways that add real meaning to the overarching story at hand.

The guest stars on “DAVE” are so purposeful and strategically placed at points throughout the show in ways that add real meaning to the overarching story at hand.

Episode 1 features a cameo from Korean popstar CL. She is signed to SB Projects, one of the production companies behind the series, so she was a fitting guest star and had impressive acting skills. This episode is set in Korea, and with that comes its own set of mayhem. As crazy as you think the trek to Korea would be for this characters, multiply that times about eight.

Actress Christine Ko (“Emma”) revealed during a recent press conference that the directors and writers talked to her about the micro-aggressions she faces as an Asian-American. Having an Asian-American actress, three Asian-American writers, and an Asian-American director is not only great for representation in the cast and crew, but it also made for a really accurate representation on screen and impacted the story (especially in the premiere episode set in Korea) in a really positive way.

Dave Burd added that they also invited some K-Pop and Korean artists into the writers’ room to get as many perspectives about what they would want an American comedy to cover about their unique experiences.

Make sure you remember Benny Blanco from last season, because his character is very involved in some of these episodes. I have a feeling we’re going to have some pretty interesting GIFs come out of some of their interactions. In case you didn’t know, Benny Blanco is a real-life mega-producer who has written and produced hit songs for Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Kesha, Halsey, and so many others. In the show, Benny plays Dave’s Jewish friend, and they met in the first season after it was suggested they work together on music.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shows up for a lengthy cameo in Episode 4, aptly titled “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.” He plays himself with a surprising twist that I don’t want to really give away. It caused for an interesting turn of events. From the trailer, you might think he pops up for just a few seconds, but he’s actually a major player in this particular episode.

In a recent Q&A, the cast seemed especially excited to have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar guest star. Dave revealed that they spent three full days shooting with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Taylor Misiak (“Ally”) said that Kareem actually introduced himself to her while she was reading her lines: “…he went, ‘I’m Kareem, by the way.’ And I was like, ‘I know! It’s such a pleasure to meet you!’”

One interesting highlight from Episode 5 is that it features a new song from GaTa titled “Check Up,” which sounds like a banger just from the short snippets alone. No word yet on when the track itself will be released, but I’m ready to add it to my summer playlist.

Dave is a character that you feel naturally inclined to root for, while there are certainly times he challenges that in this next round of episodes.

Dave Burd is a great actor with exceptional comedic timing. Taylor Misiak manages to find the perfect balance between being a schoolteacher and being the ex of an up-and-coming rapper really well. GaTa bring such a distinct touch of heart and emotion in a way only he could with his character. These actors have really brought their characters to life by invigorating a breadth of personality and individuality that feels like we’ve met them before, all the while maintaining the uniqueness that keeps us sticking around for the next episodes.

Seasons 1 and 2 of DAVE are now streaming on Hulu.

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