How the Show Explores the Healing Power of Creativity


Barry is one of the most widely loved shows currently on television. Not only is the show loved by critics, but fans of all ages (maybe not ALL ages) love the show as well. This is due to the perfect blend of drama and comedyspearheaded by the titular Barry himself, Bill Hader. Hader takes on the role (and writes and directs some episodes) perfectly; he is able to perfectly meld the two genres in a way that consistently keeps audiences engaged. The engagement of audiences is vital to the development of the story as well.

Barry at its core is all about creativity and its importance in one’s life. Anyone in the creative field can understand the importance of said creativity in their life, whether it helped them grow as a person, or allowed them to explore their true passions in life. Creativity is vital to everyone’s life, really, at some point and in some way. The story of Barry and his entrance into the creative space is vital to his character development and ability to connect with the audience as a whole.

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What is Barry?

Barry is a half-hour dark comedy on HBO and HBO Max. Those are the minimal facts of the show, but Barry is so much more than that. The show follows a former Marine and current hitman from Cleveland named Barry. When he goes to Los Angeles for a job, Barry discovers his love for the arts, specifically for acting. The problem? Barry is pretty bad at actingand he’s still a hitman.

Related: Barry Season 3 Trailer Teases the Beloved Hitman’s Return on HBO Max

Thus, if Barry wants to act he must work to get to that point, all while killing off everyone he is hired to. This direct clash of ideals and morals throughout the show and even within Barry’s mind is what makes the show so great. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more incongruous to a murderous hitman than an improv actor in LA. As such, the conflict between Barry’s more negative and destructive impulses, against the more productive and cathartic methods of creativity (as seen through acting), makes for suspenseful comedy and funny drama.

How Does the Show Explore Creativity?

The show explores creativity through the lens of Barry himself and the creatives he meets. Barry’s personal struggle with and growing affinity for creativity is explored throughout the show. Those other creatives he discovers are maybe a little more set in their ways, but that’s not a bad thing. Gene, Barry’s improv teacher (played by the legendary Henry Winkler) is one of those characters who are more in touch with his creativity; he understands and lives in that space so well. This is why Gene is such a big proponent of helping Barry to understand and bask in his own inner creativity.

Related: 15 Best HBO TV Shows of All Time, Ranked

This assistance is what proposes Barry to understand and love his personal creativity. When Barry is able to unlock his inner creativity and inner resources he is able to accomplish so much more than he was previously privy to. Barry’s creativity allows him to become the best version of himself despite hiding much of himself from friends and mentors like Gene. Gene’s constant mentorship of Barry allows him to be more open, or as open as he can be without putting his new friends in harm’s way.

How Can Creativity Heal?

Creativity is much more than something you need to make art. Creativity is something you need to live, breathe, and create; Barry did not have that at all, and was a destructive husk before he discovered something (and some people) he cared about with acting. One can find their creativity in the oddest places. Case in point, Barry himself found his creativity when he was tailing a hit and happened upon an improv acting class. Improv acting might sound incredibly terrible, mocked by many, but some people like it. To each their own.

You can find your creativity anywhere; that’s just where Barry happened upon his. Once Barry found his creativity, he found himself, in a sense. Barry was able to find himself when he found his creative identity, and it changed him for the better; with Bill Hader’s amazing performance, all of this is beautifully laid out. Allowing your creative self to show can mean a lot. It can not only make you a better version of yourself but allow you to tap into inner resources that you did not know you had. So go to that improv acting class or painting class; who knows what creative pieces of yourself you’ll discover.



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