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Big Time In Hollywood, FL: “Art Imitates Death”

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If you view Big Time In Hollywood, FL as a story about a broken family and the trials and tribulations they go through in order to repair their unit, then “Art Imitates Death” is the perfect happy ending. The Dolfe brothers have the time of their lives, having no regrets, their father (and The World’s #1 Bald Asshole) comes to their aid, and their mother finally gets the one big happy family she dreamed of (sort of—at least they got jobs… sort of). The Dolfe family is stronger than ever at the end of “Art Imitates Death,” which as least makes the versions of Jack and Ben who wanted to extort $20,000 from their parents for kicking them out of the house a thing of the past. After everything that goes down in this season finale, they have millions of dollars (in their father’s business account), they’re already living alone, and all of their legal troubles are out the window.


To call Big Time In Hollywood, FL a twisted family comedy would be perhaps an understatement, but you could still do it.

“Art Imitates Death” is the culmination of the previous nine episodes’ insanity, and as expected, it’s a bloody, messy affair. It ends up not being a delusional fantasy by the Dolfe brothers (or even a snow globe-wielding Del), but the way it all shakes out, that’s actually for the best. While that would have worked, it’s even funnier to think that the idiots within the world of this show could create such chaos for real. Honestly, “it was all just a dream” would only lessen the terror and destruction that lay in the Dolfe brothers’ wake.


Because Jack and Ben really do leave behind a lot of dead bodies by the end of this episode and season, and now there’s conveniently no longer any evidence to even implicate them in it. (Sort of.)

As the episode continues on from the cliffhanger of “The Hand That Feeds” (after the previouslies are filled with the screams that lead into the theme song—a terrific bit), Jack and Ben are left with the only option they have left: tell the damn truth. They do, speaking over each other as they try to explain to Malloy what happened to get them involved with a bad person like Holgado, and it’s a quick, nonsensical reminder that they have done so many terrible things in such a relatively short amount of time. So now, they have to wear a wire themselves, which is nowhere near as funny as when Del had to wear one, but it is certainly a situation with higher stakes.

So this is it, and because of Coen-esque action comedy in which the Dolfe brothers are live, there are goodbyes, talks about “one last ride,” and declarations of love. Malloy—who, as you’ll remember “kissed [his] wife goodbye a long time ago”—gives his adorable daughter an over-the-top goodbye phone call, as this is the big one for him. Del and Darla reconcile over a payphone, and Jack and Ben make it clear they wouldn’t really do anything differently. The latter is sweet when you don’t think about how everything they touch, they destroy.

However, it’s not actually Jack and Ben who turn the sting operation into a bloodbath—it’s Malloy and his refusal to bust the drug smuggling right in front of them until Holgado shows her face. Then Alan shows up, in his leather jacket and World’s #1 Bald Asshole shirt (no longer channeling power from his toupee), and the whole thing is slowly blown, until cops, drug smugglers, and actors all get shot up. Perhaps because of racial sensitivity, there is no Mexican stand-off, but there is a dive from Ben to save Jack from being killed by Holgado. It’s an early dive, and it fails, but it’s the thought that counts. Besides, it’s even better that Rico is the one that saves Jack by shooting Holgado, even though it’s really the result of Rico being a trigger happy chimp (who’s really just doing what they taught him to do).


As one might expect from the season finale of Big Time In Hollywood, FL, creators Anfanger and Schimpf’s script brings out callbacks to previous episodes, even the pilot. This is a show that’s built an evidence wall-like narrative, a web of interconnected plots that either all come together when all is said and done or specifically dangle to keep the audience thinking. The dangling here comes in the form of the Dolfe family’s case, as Darla clears the evidence room of any and all evidence of Dolfe criminal (as tangential as it may be) activity to save her man, but as the last moment of the episode (before the credits) shows, she misses one: Alan’s, with the delightful photo of him raising a knife at that wacky Thanksgiving dinner. The word “whoops” comes to mind.

But then there’s the actual last moment of the episode, during the credits, as Del stands (as the Dolfes left him there) in the middle of dozens of corpses. He tells them they’re all really good actors (as he assumed was also the case for dead Jimmy Staats) and then decides that CPR is again the way to go (as he did for Scoles). Only here, in a twist and shock to end the season (or series), Detective Zdorkin comes to life at this act. So there is now a bit of evidence and possibly the head detective on the case, if that counts for anything. What could possibly happen next?


“Art Imitates Death” is the final act in an action film, and as such, it throws every trope necessary at the wall. Cuba Gooding Jr. actually says it best before his other hand gets blown off: “Welcome to Monkey Largo, motherf—.” It’s a happy ending, for the most part, and that makes sense. For all of the Dolfe brothers’ problems, their optimism has always been at the forefront, and for that, they’ve been punished more than enough by this point. There were plenty of ways this all could have ended, but it just makes sense that 10 episodes would lead to this one: the Dolfe brothers causing an absolute bloodbath and learning nothing from their actions. Hey, when all is said and done, they got the money they wanted and then some! That’s a pretty perfect ending for all of this, honestly.

Stray observations:

  • Jack (to Del): “Can I get you some cheese? You rat bitch.”
  • Toilet cam Ted as the Dolfes’ court-appointed lawyer? It just feels right.
  • Barry Woodruff, Drug Smugler #3, could have worn a sign saying “Jimmy Staats stand-in” and the same last impression could have been made.
  • Just a solid laugh comes in the form of Cuba telling Jack to call action, Jack freezing, and then the zoom-in to Jack saying it. The fact that he still doesn’t do the requisite yell and instead whimpers to get it out is a beautiful choice.
  • “Hey! Who’s got two opposable thumbs and loves you like crazy?” It’s cute because it’s from Monkey Largo, but it’s hilarious because Cuba does not have anything close to two opposable thumbs at this point.
  • Diana: “Alan, what happened to your clothes?”
    Alan: “The horror, Diana. The horror.” Yeah, Alan’s been through some things. This is basically his Heart Of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, all because he made his wife stay in the car.
  • Thanks for sticking along for the ride, commenters.