Praise Petey Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
There’s a certain familiarity to the early going of “Praise Petey,” and not in an unwelcome way; as she did on “Schitt’s Creek,” Annie Murphy plays a child of privilege who is cast into a new, vastly more rural and isolated living situation by circumstance. Here, though, the character Murphy plays is animated, and the setting for her personal reinvention isn’t a small town but a compound we quickly learn plays host to a cult.
Her late father’s cult, to be precise. Petey, a fashion-magazine functionary whom we’re told in Murphy’s charming voiceover is “a girl with a boy’s name, so you’re allowed to like me,” is living her best life in New York City. But in the midst of idle days of lunching and half-working, she’s treated as an obstacle and an annoyance by her mother (Christine Baranski). So it is that early in the first episode, she decides to learn a little more about the community her father (played, when he appears in video messages made before the character’s death, by Stephen Root) left behind. It’s called New Utopia, and the name hints at the many hopes its citizens have for what they’ll gain by giving up their lives for the cause.
As conceived by Anna Drezen, the “Saturday Night Live” head writer who executive produces with Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, there’s a witty character insight at the center of “Praise Petey”: A New York City It Girl is the perfect cult-leader type. The brisk episodes, running just over twenty minutes, can feel slightly overstuffed with situation and incident, and are at their best when returning to certain fundamental character dynamics (like Petey’s bristling relationship with a local, played by John Cho, who’s the only person to call her on her pretensions) or key insights. A particularly sharp episode, the series’ fifth, involves Petey converting the farm to an upscale wedding venue, and invites viewers to look back and forth between Pinterest-culture bridesmaids and cult members and try to spot the differences, if any.
Murphy does well in her lead role, continuing the career roll she’s been on since the “Black Mirror” episode “Joan Is Awful” earlier this summer. She leads a cast in which the standouts also include Kiersey Clemons as a cultist with a secret she’s trying to keep and Amy Hill as the unctuously polite sect matriarch. (Hill brings all of the frustration cloaked with gentility that “Enlightened” fans will remember from her turn as Amy Jellicoe’s endlessly thwarted corporate manager.)
Time will tell if Freeform is an ideal home for “Praise Petey”; their recent cancellation of the very clever and involving sitcom “Single Drunk Female,” a show with a similarly urbane sensibility to “Praise Petey’s,” is a bit nervous-making. That’s especially true because this show with a strong premise and cast deserves a bit more time to gel. The first five episodes of its first season are generally strong, if crowded with much work to do to get us to know these characters. I suspect its third season might be really something. It deserves the chance to build out its story and build up an audience, so that it can, potentially, become a breakthrough hit — or at least a cult classic.