"Doggy Bank" (Season 1) Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Doggy Bank", which is the new show from Warner Media 150, which is written and directed by Thales Corrêa, who also stars as the main character Rubian, is now on Amazon Prime. I was contacted by Corrêa's production company to review this groundbreaking new show, as it is the first Brazilian comedy in English to debut in the U.S. The first season, which is only six episodes long, is honestly wacky, hilarious at times, and tons of fun. Not only does it provide the whimsical and dark comedy aspects you would expect from a show like this, but there are also moments of real connection and human growth, which is largely evident from Rubian's interactions with the eccentric, and straight up odd, billionaire, Borba (Anthony Moore).
Rubian lives in Bakersfield, CA (which is funny as I actually was born and raised in Bakersfield), and is down on his luck. He has to result to being a driver for apps like Uber, and is constantly berated and put down by his customers. But, when he gets a call that his sister is in fatal condition from a deadly disease, he is forced to drop everything and go see her, as she is residing at her new fiancee's house. That is when we meet Borba.
Borba is this odd, slightly terrifying at first billionaire who is taking care of Rubian's sister in her time of need. Yet, when Rubian's sister unexpectedly faints and dies, Borba and Rubian are forced to quarantine together, which sparks an unlikely friendship between the two. When Rubian finds out his quarantine counterpart is planning on leaving his huge fortune to his dog, which is actually named Borba as well, Rubian must face the personal dilemma to choose whether Borba was his friend, or if he was just in this for the money the entire time.
The episodes, which come in at runtimes under twenty minutes, move by very quickly and keep the viewer engaged throughout the entire season. Corrêa is able to tell this full fledged story in no time at all, which is nice as he doesn't have to rely on smaller subplots to really move the story forward. He takes the source material and really delivers on this show by making it so easy and accessible. There are numerous other dark humor shows like this one that require the viewer to have extensive knowledge of previous events in history or social awareness of the world today, which fails at times. This one, however, just wants the viewer to understand stoner humor and how it simply works for a show like this.
I think Corrêa does a decent job for the most part in the lead role, but it is really Moore who stands out here. He not only plays Borba, but also Rubian's stoner friend, Jer. Both of these characters are hilarious throughout the show, and they both really steal the show in every scene they are in. While I do think Jer is a good character, it is really Borba who is the star here. He is unexpectedly funny, crude, and weirder than all get out. But, there is something so lovable and real about his character on the inside. He laments some of the show's most important lines, concerning how he should have spent more time with his loved ones and how money is really no object to him. This is then followed by him calling Rubian a "bitch", which is simply hilarious in its delivery. I also want to give a shout out to Sanjay Nambiar, who plays the doctor throughout the series. He may have few scenes, but he is hilarious every time.
I also really enjoyed the cinematography here as Corrêa is experimenting with different shot angles and color grading. Consider the moment in the final episode where Borba the dog is heading out to a car. We are seeing the shot from the dog's POV, and I really enjoyed how Corrêa really thought outside the box and tried to make something new and unique.
Now, here is the problem with the short runtimes and the limited number of episodes. It seems like it flies by too fast, and we don't really get to stay in this story as long as we want. As soon as Corrêa sets something up, he is already ready to move on to the next event or plot line. It doesn't last long at all, and I really think that takes the viewer out of the show at times. At the same time, the final episode feels so rushed and doesn't really feel finished. It seems like he was just trying to wrap everything up, while also leaving a cliffhanger at the end to tease a second season. Perhaps an episode 7 would have fixed this issue and allowed Corrêa to dive deeper into this story. I also wish Corrêa perhaps possibly made the show a tad more emotional, as it feels like he is scared to lean more into the more somber issues because it will spoil the comedy of this show.
However, despite some of the criticisms I had about the pacing and some of the tonal moments of this show, I really had a lot of fun with it. It was easy breezy and had me hooked from beginning to end. It doesn't take itself too seriously and doesn't try to hard to be something it is not; it is just a good show to put on and watch one afternoon for a fun story and good performances. I applaud Corrêa for crafting this show, as well as his team behind the entire production, and I think it is awesome we are getting more Brazilian projects in the mainstream. I highly recommend for you all to check this one out for yourself!
*You can find "Doggy Bank" on Amazon Prime Video.*