In This Fool, a Hulu comedy series co-created by and starring Chris Estrada, it’s better to be a cupcake-baking “punk-ass bitch” with “lawyer hands” than a gangster with an eight-year prison sentence. At least, in theory.
Julio Lopez (Estrada), aforementioned “punk-ass bitch,” may have kept himself off the streets his entire life–but he has a rough time of it working at Hugs Not Thugs, an LA center run by Minister Payne (Michael Imperioli) to rehabilitate the toughest of gangsters and thugs. While Julio is great at what he does, he can’t help but feel there’s more to life than living with his mother; an on-again-off-again relationship with the spontaneous Maggie (Michelle Ortiz); and a low-paying, grueling (albeit rewarding) job.
Julio’s cousin’s release from prison presents him with an opportunity to do something meaningful for his family. He enrolls Luis (Frankie Quinones) in Hugs Not Thugs and takes on a role as his mentor. But nothing can prepare him for the challenge of guiding Luis to the straight-and-narrow path–not to mention all the zany situations the cousins will get into.
Estrada and Quinones are a near-perfect comedy duo. In many ways, they are a classic team. Luis, the cool jokester. And Julio, the straight-laced butt of his jokes. But their relationship is elevated by real-life issues, compelling conflict, and shifting dynamics between the two.
Throughout the series, Julio must open up to the fact that he has as much to learn from Luis as Luis does from him. Their respective journeys of self-discovery are fascinating–one couldn’t happen without the other. Ultimately, their pairing results in a buddy comedy as absurdly funny as it is heartfelt, if at times juvenile.
This Fool’s comedy writing is mostly strong, although it does tend to overplay its hand–leaning too heavily on cringeworthy jokes about Luis’ being stuck in 2005, and sometimes undermining the show’s more serious plotlines. This is uplifted, however, by excellent comedic timing–from the entire cast.
Boasting an utterly charming cast of characters, compelling drama, and one of the best buddy comedy duos on recent television–This Fool offers 10 episodes well worth your watch.