‘Barry’ Writer Explains Show’s ‘Stoner Oracle’ – The Hollywood Reporter
In “710N”, the sixth episode of barryIn season three, an extremely popular donut shop opens in Los Angeles and becomes a destination for three of the show’s aimless characters. In this scene, Sarah Goldberg’s Sally opens up to Donuts owner Mitch about her professional frustrations after her TV show collapsed. Emmy-nominated writer Duffy Boudreau breaks down the opening scene of the episode’s running joke about the “oracle stoner” hipster.
“Mitch is that kind of oracle guy who runs a super popular hipster place,” Boudreau says. “People are lining up around the block to eat these desserts – but, more importantly, to get life advice from him.” While he gives Sally sound advice, she still ignores everything he has to say. “Often the right answer is right in front of us and we know it, but that’s not what we want to hear,” adds Boudreau. “This theme of self-delusion is such a big part of the show, and it sums it up perfectly. [in the scenes with Mitch] where our characters are real to themselves.
Actor Tom Allen plays Mitch, the stoner donut shop owner who has taken LA by storm. “We were very lucky,” Boudreau said. “I think it’s a really difficult role because it’s so specific.” Mitch is a sounding board for Sally to air her grievances, and he takes it all in. “The big note that Bill gave him on the day [we shot the scene] was, “Show no emotion at all,” Boudreau recalled of directing co-creator/star Hader. “It was all about position, and it gave him this weird gravity that was really funny.”
Boudreau says Sally, played by Sarah Goldberg, is the empathetic heart of the show. “Even when she’s an asshole, she’s right,” he says. “He is clearly the most talented person in [Gene Cousineau’s acting] to classify. She managed to run her own show. She’s had a bit of bad luck, you know, but for all the other personality traits she has that put people off, Sally is the most serious person on the show.
The Los Angeles setting barry is, at times, Hollywood satire, but the city setting also gives writers plenty of room to explore the fringes of LA for its humor. “For us, it’s the weird corners of LA,” Boudreau says of where writers find their inspiration. Donuts by Mitch was an opportunity to poke fun at LA’s food culture and the idiosyncratic people who populate the city’s urban sprawl.
Later in the episode, Barry and NoHo Hank pay their own visits to Mitch’s Donuts – and naturally neither of them take Mitch’s advice either. “It was fun to have a character meet three of our main characters. It’s just not a normal part of the show,” says Boudreau, who notes that Sally and NoHo Hank have yet to interact through barry‘s three seasons.
This story first appeared in a standalone July issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.