Billy & Billie: Episode #1 Review
“Come As You Are”
“Who’s gonna tell Mom?”
If I hadn’t read the synopsis or seen the trailer for Billy & Billie, I might have been genuinely shocked by the closing words of the show’s pilot episode.
Don’t let the cutesy title fool you, Billy & Billie isn’t a safe, sugary sweet rom-com like recently ill-fated network comedies like A to Z or Us & Them, instead it’s a sharp dramedy that embraces one of society’s few remaining taboo relationships.
Billy (Adam Brody) and Billie (Lisa Joyce) have known one another for a long time, since their parents were married in fact. That’s right, their step-brother and sister, something that is only alluded to in the first episode outside of the final scene.
We meet Billy and Billie the morning after – a scene that has been well established in any pretty much any rom-com ever. What makes this version work is that these two people already feel lived in, and Brody and Joyce immediately convey a long sense of history and sibling antagonism between their characters. Their rapid-fire banter is as classic as the banter between actors in that “black and white shit” (aka His Girl Friday) that Billy finds so romantic, only with a modern helping of crassness.
Creator, writer and director Neil Labute has done a great job of recreating real speak. Though I was initially surprised by how many times Billie casually threw the word “fuck” around, I realised that is exactly what I must sound like to the people who have the misfortune of being seated near me in a restaurant.
It’s unfortunate that the supporting characters leave a lot to be desired. Billie’s best friend Drew (Gia Crovatin) is a snarky, stereotypically shallow actress, while Billy’s two co-workers Tom (Phil Burke) and Keith (Jake Lacy) are two ‘dude-bros’ who right now exist merely as a dichotomy to his more sensitive character.
The pilot only scratches at Billy & Billie’s potential and barely leans on the pseudo-incestuous nature of the titular characters, but Brody and Joyce’s charm was enough to get me to binge-watch all ten episodes of the first season during a particularly seedy Sunday.
Line of the episode: “We’re not gonna go dutch on this, I let you fuck me from behind.” – Billie.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for reviews of all ten episodes.