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Recommended: Candy on Hulu

Jessica Biel is a revelation as Candy Montgomery in Hulu's darkly comic miniseries.
  • Jessica Biel in Candy (Photo: Tina Rowden/Hulu)
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    Candy | Hulu
    Five-Episode Limited Series (True Crime) | TV-MA

    What's Candy About?

    On June 13, 1980, Texas housewife Candy Montgomery murdered her friend Betty Gore with an axe. This series depicts that act and its aftermath, as well as the years of infidelity, jealousy, and suburban despair that led to it.

    Who's involved?

    • Jessica Biel plays Candy. Biel is also an executive producer.
    • Melanie Lynskey plays Betty, all sadness and insecurity.
    • Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black) plays Betty's husband Allan. He loves Betty, but he's more entangled with Candy than he'd care to admit.
    • Timothy Simons (Veep, Station Eleven) is Candy's husband's Pat. He's a decent guy and a good dad, but he doesn't have the passion that Candy needs in her life.
    • Raùl Esparza (Law & Order: SVU) is the ambulance chaser Candy hires after the police start interrogating her about the murder. 
    • Broadway star Jessie Mueller (Waitress) plays Candy's closest friend at church. They're both part of an active social scene that never quite accepted Betty, who was always too mopey to fit in.
    • Series creators Robin Veith and Nick Antosca return to gothic true crime after producing The Act, Hulu's miniseries about Gypsy Rose Blanchard's murder of her mother.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Even though it's about a gruesome act of violence, and even though it evokes the pain this volence causes for Betty Gore's family, Candy is packed with laughs.

    Granted, they're the laughs that spring from hell, but they're laughs all the same. When Betty and Allan see a;marriage counselor, for instance, the guy breaks the ice with a bleep-bloop robot impression (because Allan works with computers). When the cops stroll through the murder scene, they have a grand old time reenacting the catfight they imagine launched the attack. When Candy barges into her lawyer's office, she finds him shirtless under an infrared lamp. These moments knock the series off-kilter, but they're used sparingly enough to keep it from becoming a clown show, and instead add an electric sense of unpredictability to the storytelling.

    And they're all guided by Biel, who portrays Candy as someone so competent and yet so entirely lacking impulse control that she can drop the kids off at swim practice, pick up a Father's Day card, and sleep with Betty's husband at a cheap motel all before it's time to make dinner. In a flashback, when Betty glumly announces she's pregnant, Candy doesn't hesitate to suggest she'll throw the baby shower, and we can see in Biel's face that this flash of generosity comes from a genuine place. It's easy to accept that in that moment, Candy has forgotten she's also betraying Betty behind her back. It's also easy to imagine that her impulse to hack Betty into pieces was just as sudden and just as pure.

    Candy's lack of critical thinking — or perhaps self-knowledge — is made all the more fascinating (and terrifying) by the fact that she comes across as so charming and fun. Compared to Betty — whom Lynskey expertly plays as good-hearted but emotionally stunted — Candy is all charisma, all the time.

    These contradictions make the show addictive, and they act as warning. Don't think villains are always outcasts, we're told, and don't forget that the person you love gossiping with in the morning could be doing horrible things at night.

    Pairs well with

    • The Girl from Plainville (Hulu), another true crime thriller with a dark comic edge.
    • The Act (Hulu), which also examines the rot beneath a seemingly lovely family.
    • Barry  (HBO), which wrings laughs out of twisted situations. 

  • Candy
    Premieres on Hulu May 9. New episodes drop daily through Friday, May 13.
    Created by: Robin Veith and Nick Antosca.
    Starring: Jessica Biel, Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons, Raul Esparza, and Jessie Mueller.

    TOPICS: Candy, Hulu, Jessica Biel, Jessie Mueller, Melanie Lynskey, Nick Antosca, Pablo Schreiber, Raul Esparza, Robin Veith, Timothy Simons