This is one hot mess of an episode. David Duchovny's first trip behind the scenes occurred with last season's The Unnatural, a sentimental hour that was generally pretty pleasant and moving. Hollywood A.D. is a far more ambitious episode, similarly lifting from reality for its principal mystery before all of a sudden tail-spinning into industry satire at the end. There are some amusing moments here and there, but the stunt casting overwhelms, and most of the humor comes off as more than a little embarrassing and unfunny.
Running with that, there's a sense of self-indulgence that radiates through most of the Hollywood scenes, notably in the casting of David's wife Tea Leoni, his friend Garry Shandling, as well as his Return to Me co-stars in that opening scene at the premiere. Some of the jokes feel contrived, especially the elaborate "I am the walrus" bit which just stinks of trying too hard. Sure, there are fun moments. I liked Scully running back and forth in the background of that shot, and the bathtub scene works, too. But too much of the humor feels self-conscious, the work of somebody who thinks they're funny but isn't a natural comedian. Comedy is hard, and David probably shouldn't attempt to write it.
Elsewhere, the Cardinal mystery was convoluted and not at all engaging, and feels a little thrown together. It obviously feeds into the movie idea, but struggles to find much of an identity on its own, despite two interesting performances from Harris Yulin and Paul Lieber.
Hollywood A.D. is something that strives to be wild and eccentric, but ends up failing in most areas. Poke fun at Gillian's navel-gazing party two weeks ago all you want, but at least she stuck to themes that she could sort of handle. This is a total misfire. D
Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); Garry Shandling (Himself); Tea Leoni (Herself); Harris Yulin (Cardinal O'Fallon); Wayne Federman (Wayne Federman); Paul Lieber (Micah Hoffman)
Writer David Duchovny Director David Duchovny