HBO’s “Avenue 5”, A Scarily Prescient Comedy About A Fake, Incompetent Leader and His Death Wish Mob

Hugh Laurie in Avenue 5

To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in seeing “Avenue 5” despite the fact that it was created by the brilliant Armando Iannucci who birthed “Veep” and starred a raft of top actors including Hugh Laurie, Josh Gad, and Himesh Patel, but decided to try one episode. And wow, I was surprised – but shouldn’t have been – that it’s good. Scarily good.

It starts out as a smart but goofy comedy, chronicling an eight-week space cruise that due to a malfunction turns into a three-year+ ordeal, riffing off the incompetence and arrogance of those “in charge” – much like “Veep”. However, as it continues, it moves beyond even “Veep” by showing the devastating and deadly consequences of clueless leadership and the deranged conspiracy-obsessed mob that follows them.

It comes to a head in Episode 8, “This Is Physically Hurting Me”, where the stupidity of the mob results in pointless death. Well, suicide, really.

Watching this episode, I immediately thought about the brainless Coronavirus parties, the pastors continuing to hold services thinking God will save them, the Spring Breakers who have come back from vacation and who are surprised they are now sick, the President’s cult members who believe the media is inflating death stats all in an effort to hurt their deity, and the Red State governors still refusing to give stay-at-home orders because there aren’t a lot of “China-men” or liberals in their states.

Iannucci is a genius. Yes, I’ll throw that out there! Who else could have shown – long before there was any whiff of a pandemic truly manifesting itself – the logical consequences of a fake, incompetent leader who has no clue what to do when a disaster happens nor is equipped to care about his followers who run like lemmings off a cliff, insisting gravity is a hoax.

Look, I do not wish for people to die just because they’re dumb. I just don’t like the fact their ignorance is allowing the virus to spread and endangering me and other people who actually believe in science.

Alright, here’s the (devastating) mob-scene clip from Episode 8, but I would recommend seeing the series from the beginning to see the entire disaster unfold. And Season Two is coming!