Matt Leblanc rocks 'Episodes'

Actor Matt LeBlanc attends the Premiere Reception For Showtime's "Episodes" Season Two at...

Actor Matt LeBlanc attends the Premiere Reception For Showtime's "Episodes" Season Two at The London Hotel on June 19, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/AFP)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:14 PM ET

"Pucks sucks."

No, that's not a lament from a hockey hater.

Rather, the catchy term comes up in the second season of the Matt LeBlanc series Episodes, which premieres Monday across Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central.

Characters Sean Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangan) and Beverly Lincoln (played by Tamsin Greig) are reading some reviews of their new TV series Pucks. The general setup of Episodes is that Sean and Beverly are Brits who had a successful series back home, but now they've lost control of the American remake.

"Pucks sucks," a distraught Sean reads to Beverly as he checks out the reviews online. Then he adds, "Well, we just handed them that one."

The American remake of Sean and Beverly's show -- which was a much more cerebral affair called Lyman's Boys overseas -- stars LeBlanc, who was pushed upon Sean and Beverly by the American network. In Episodes, LeBlanc plays a fictionalized version of himself.

Back in January, LeBlanc won his first ever Golden Globe Award for "best actor in a TV musical or comedy" for his work on Episodes. Hey, good for him, but there were two slightly odd elements about that win.

First, it's strange to get an acting award for playing a fictionalized version of yourself, isn't it? Wouldn't the parameters of what's good acting and what's bad acting be different in that case? We're not suggesting it would be any less difficult, but it would be different, right?

And second, LeBlanc was nominated three times for Golden Globes and three times for Emmy Awards for his long-running role as Joey Tribbiani on Friends. But LeBlanc, now 44, didn't win any of those.

So it just seemed kind of bizarre that LeBlanc never won any of those trophies for Friends, which ran for 10 seasons, but he already has one trophy for Episodes, which to this point has aired only seven actual episodes. A funny game, this TV business.

Anyway, the first season of Episodes ended with LeBlanc having slept with Beverly, so obviously the marriage of Beverly and Sean is under some strain. As Season 2 begins, it's four months later, and the status of Beverly and Sean's relationship is one of the first things addressed.

Be that as it may, the show -- Pucks -- must go on.

It's thought-provoking to watch Episodes and remember what a beating the NBC/Citytv sitcom 30 Rock took in its early days for being too "TV-insider-ish."

It was a criticism I always strongly disagreed with, because in my mind, you required no insider knowledge of the TV business to watch 30 Rock. You either found it funny or you didn't, but I challenge anyone to say honestly that they ever had trouble understanding it.

Episodes is staggeringly more "TV-insider-ish" than 30 Rock ever was. But perhaps because it originates on a cable network -- Showtime in the U.S. -- rather than a broadcast network, content expectations and allowances vary. At least Episodes never has to worry about a review like "Pucks sucks." Nothing rhymes with episodes, does it?

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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