The trouble with life is that it keeps changing.
In becomes out, up becomes down, yes become maybe. And ordering coffee becomes a chore.
We learn that at the start of “State of the Union” (shown here), the witty show that debuts on Valentine’s Day and continues in brief bursts. It has 10-minute episodes at 10 p.m. weekdays on Sundance for two weeks.
Like the first season, this has a husband and wife meet at a coffee shop, before heading to the marriage counselor upstairs. Ellen (Patricia Clarkson) is ready for change; Scott (Brendan Gleeson) isn’t. In this modern world, simply ordering a coffee bewilders him.
Nick Hornby, the novelist who wrote the clever little scripts, finds that understandable. “If I go into a complicated coffee order, it’s difficult the first time,” he told the Television Critics Association in a virtual press conference. “Then I order the same thing 3,000 times in a row.”
Scott is also perplexed by gender identity, a confusion that Gleeson understands. “It wasn’t something that I was overly familiar with, in terms of pronouns and all that.”
But he caught on quickly, with guidance from Esco Jouley, the non-binary actor – “one of the coolest people on the planet,” Clarkson said — who is the show’s third character, a barista.
“It’s about the intention,” Jouley said. “If you know someone hasn’t any ill intentions, I’m willing to stand there and be like, ‘This is new. For me, meeting you is new, too.’”
Now we’ll meet some interesting – and, at times, funny – people in 10-minute chunks.