The first episode of Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy (2012) has some gems: the father joining a support group for fathers who don’t like their children, or Martin writing a love letter to his older sister on behalf of the school bully and her taking it ironically. However, episode one feels a bit like Chris O’Dowd has written himself into an already pretty solid family sitcom. The premise is that Sean Murphy (O’Dowd) is 12-year-old Martin Moone’s imaginary friend, so he pops in and out of view, not so much offering advice but reacting to what’s going on, helpless to stop Martin’s bike from getting trashed and useless with ideas, apart from maybe the bad poetry. I assume that Sean’s impact on the plot will grow stronger, as the show is now in its third season. I’m still unsure if Sean is supposed to have his own personality or a mirror of Martin’s.
The show is quaint, set in an Irish town in the 80s, undoubtedly the setting of O’Dowd’s childhood. As an American, it is difficult to know whether the cultural references to things like product are real or changed for copyright purposes. (I think that Readybix refers to Weetabix?) If anything, it’s nice to have a sitcom with modern sensibilities that takes place in the 80s, before kids were stuck in the house playing games on their phones rather than out on their bikes having adventures. You can watch it on Hulu.