THE PERFORMER | Patty Guggenheim
THE SHOW | She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
THE EPISODE | “Is This Not Real Magic?” (Sept. 8, 2022)
THE PERFORMANCE | She had us at, “and one Y, but it’s not where you thiiiink.”
When Mystic Castle magician Donny Blaze first pulled Madisynn King out of his audience for a trick, her drink nearly swishing out of its glass, you may have groaned at the first hint of her tipsy vocal fry. But Guggenheim instantly made the party girl hilariously specific with the rhythm of her speech and intonations. (Seriously, who else remarks, “Ew,” when faced with an inter-dimensional portal?)
Then, when Madisynn toppled through another portal and nearly landed in Wong’s lap? All as the Sorcerer Supreme tried to binge The Sopranos in his Kamar-Taj crib? We were off to the races, as the MCU’s most unlikely friendship formed (blurted Sopranos spoilers be damned). There was a quiet brilliance in the way that Guggenheim — who has played a Florida girl before — plainly recounted how Blaze “sent me to a diff dimensh, and then a talking goat helped me escape a lava pit in exchange for six drops of my blood,” all while distracted by a broken dress strap.
Guggenheim’s best showcase came when attorney Jen Walters/She-Hulk begrudgingly called her to testify in court, as “Wongers” (A-plus straight man Benedict Wong) sought to snuff Mystic Arts dropout Blaze’s act. The way she casually recounted the pact she made with a “fire land” demon “which I cannot discuss” was a hoot, and yet it paled in comparison to her detailing the emotions she felt during her portal hops: “At first it was fun. Then scary. Then fun again. Then spooky, but in a fun way!”
All told, Guggenheim’s Madisynn was one of the first truly contemporary characters to enter the MCU in a while — someone who for better or worse felt real, and not carefully injection-molded to serve a rote purpose. She’s not a scientist nor a doctor nor a superpowered being. She’s just a girl from Florida content to share popcorn and a This Is Us binge with her Wongers. And maybe some yak milk, too. Case clo-o-o-osed!
HONORABLE MENTION | House of the Dragon’s first few episodes were sorely lacking in Big Lannister Energy, a deficit Jefferson Hall filled times two in Sunday’s hour. Playing twins Tyland (upstanding, driven) and Jason (smarmy, entitled) Lannister, Hall gave us a peek at his considerable range. But we’d like to focus on the absolutely entertaining manner in which he, as Jason, tried to woo Princess Rhaenyra. Hall mixed the arrogance we’ve come to recognize from House Lannister with Jason’s naked ambition, which bordered on buffoonery. (In need of a laugh? Go back and watch how his face transforms the moment Rhaenyra turns her back.) The episode left us very excited to see what Hall will do when the spotlight is on Ser Tyland.
HONORABLE MENTION | This week’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power found Arondir nearly at his breaking point after the Silvan elf was captured by Orcs and forced to work one of their camps under horrific conditions. In a powerful scene that revealed his fierce warrior spirit, the shackled elf took on a Warg — the same beast that nearly killed Aragorn in the The Two Towers — to help his friend escape, only to watch them die. While we thoroughly enjoyed those acrobatic moves that inspired the same awe we felt with Legolas in Peter Jackson’s films, we were more impressed with the fire in Ismael Cruz Córdova’s eyes and the mighty roar from his lungs as the elf fought back. With a will stronger than mithril, Arondir is quickly becoming one of our favorites to watch.
HONORABLE MENTION | It’s always bittersweet watching kids grow up, but it was especially tough to see What We Do in the Shadows‘ Colin Robinson enter manhood this week — just because it’s been such a goofy delight seeing Mark Proksch play him through every stage of his awkward adolescence. Colin started out this week’s finale as a sullen, death metal-blasting teen, and Proksch perfectly captured that angsty age with hunched shoulders, sneers and eye rolls. He also struck an unexpectedly poignant note when Colin discovered his unfortunate fate as an energy vampire. By the time he resumed his familiar form as painfully dull adult Colin, it almost seemed like two different actors, since Proksch was so convincing as “Baby Colin.”
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!