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REVIEW: 'Dave,' season 2 starts strong with K-pop conundrum
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REVIEW: 'Dave,' season 2 starts strong with K-pop conundrum

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Now that Lil Dicky has a bigger slice of success his neuroses are off the chart.

In season two of “Dave,” the rapper (Dave Burd) has a deadline hanging over his head and a degree of success that proves debilitating.

In the opening episode, Dave is in Korea to film a music video that could tap into the K-pop market. “I Just Woke Up in Korea” could be a career maker but everything that can go wrong does. His intern is jailed, his guest star is (potentially) offended, his filming money is quickly dwindling.

Even worse, Dave’s knowledge of the K-pop world could bury him.

More confident than the first season, this “Dave” shows a side of the fictional Burd that’s more believable. Repeating a mantra (“Nobody in my family is ever going to die. It’s a fact”), he expresses the angst of someone unsure of his abilities. When it’s revealed he really could be in trouble, the series moves out of the realm of “Seinfeld” and onto the turf of “Atlanta.” Written by Lee Sung Jin and directed by Jake Schreier, it’s much easier to understand Lil Dicky’s mindset, particularly when his success is threatened. When he really had nothing to lose, “Dave” seemed more like an exercise in punking. Now, it’s high-stakes career time.

Back in the U.S., he and his team have to deal with a luxury apartment infested with ants. They’ve also got label people expecting product and friends who see his success as their ticket.

GaTa, his ever-present friend, has his own career to nurture and a view of Dave’s career that’s more honest than even he may realize.

Looking for inspiration, he teams up with producer Benny Bianco (playing himself) in a way that’s more than just creative. The two stretch the bounds of bro-therhood and discover it’s not as inspiring as they thought. The episode – like one with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – winds up with a visit to the doctor, but that’s a continuing theme throughout the season. Dave deals with acne problems, then uses his dermatology in to get back with his first season love, Ally (Taylor Misiak).

While “Dave” embraces too many guest stars, it doesn’t shortchange GaTa (the show’s stealth weapon) or Burd.

Burd, in fact, is a much better actor this time out. He isn’t just shocking with his lack of filters. He’s stretching with his desire to prove he’s not a fluke. He’s a 21st century Gary Shandling, able to make strengths from his fears.

While Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner and Elsie Hewitt can attract social media attention, “Dave” really soars on the backs of its unexpected stars. The intern? He’s golden and needs to be sprung stat.

“Dave” airs on FXX and FX on Hulu.

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