Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass created the American television anthology series Room 104. The series premiered on HBO on July 28, 2017. Between November 9 and December 15, 2018, a twelve-episode second season aired. On February 8, 2019, HBO announced that a third season was in the works and that the network was in talks to renew the show for a fourth season. The show's third season, which consists of twelve episodes, premiered on September 13, 2019. Season 4 filming was completed in September 2019.
A Short Brief of Room 104
The sitcom is set in a single room of an American wayside motel, with each episode focusing on different characters who pass through it. Each episode features a distinct genre, ranging from horror to suspense to comedy.
The series was given a 24-episode order, with all episodes shot back-to-back to save money, and the season was split into two 12-episode seasons. Mark Duplass, the show's co-creator, confirmed in a December 2018 interview that the third season had already been filmed and edited, and that he was scripting season 4.
Room 104 episodes are produced for “a quarter” of the cost of an HBO series, according to Duplass. The writers create episodes in a “think tank” where they generate dozens of concepts before reaching out to directors who are interested in directing the episodes.
The episodes are shot in a “loose” style; for example, Josephine Decker directed her episode in two days using only an iPhone. Directors don't see the final cut during the editing process, so Duplass shows the episodes to a group of 20 individuals at his company for comments.
Let's Tell you About Each episode
In Room 104, a man hires Meg to babysit his pre-teen son Ralph for one night. She is pleased at first when Ralph informs her that “Ralphie,” a nasty guy, is imprisoned in the bathroom and that they must remain silent so as not to disturb him. Meg is amused at first by Ralph, believing he is an imaginary friend, but she becomes terrified when Ralph enters the toilet clothed regularly but emerges wearing only underwear and a towel as a cape, calling himself Ralphie, and assaults her.
Ralph gets dressed regularly after Ralphie returns from the bathroom. Ralph tells Meg that he and his father believe his mother hanged herself, but the truth is that Ralphie murdered her. Ralph claims Ralphie has reawakened after he spoke too loudly. Ralph and Ralphie come from the bathroom at the same time this time.
Ralphie suffocates Ralph on the bed before assaulting her on the floor. Ralphie is overpowered by Meg, who strangles him to death. When Ralph's father returns, he finds Meg strangling Ralph, and when she looks to the bed, she sees no one there, but the body she was strangling is clothed as Ralph.
A pizza delivery worker is lured into a weird sex game between a couple in which the lady tries to seduce the delivery boy while the husband goes to obtain money to pay for the pizza. When the husband returns, she departs, accusing the delivery boy of having sex with the wife and tying him up. The wife reappears, and the couple engages in sex, ostensibly provoked by their dispute and the presence of a third party.
After sex, the delivery boy appears in a suit, giving the couple tips on their performance and paying them, the entire situation being one of the “delivery boy” auditioning actors to conduct immersive sexual role play for his voyeuristic clientele.
A cult priest pays a spiritually hungry woman a visit. She recalls a boy showing her his penis when she was a child and hitting it with a rock. A 42-year-old guest, whose wife wants to divorce him, consults the spirit of his college best buddy, who drowned in his early twenties by accident. In 1997, a young Indian guy tries urgently to educate his mother how to use his laptop to mail a copy of the novel he is writing over the phone. She deletes his novel by accident, so he orders her to take it to a computer store and have the employees try to recover it.
With very little language, an episode is told through interpretative dance. A former call girl and middle-aged maid reconnects with her younger self. Two Mormons put their faith and attraction to each other to the test. In 1969, the only (supposed) survivor of a plane crash appears in the room, covered in muck and bruises. She considers returning to her previous life with her husband.
When an alcoholic Croatian retired tennis player shares recollections of his traumatic childhood growing up in war-torn Croatia in the early 1990s with a housekeeper, they build a bond, and she shares her status as an undocumented immigrant. An air conditioning repairman interrupts a young man attempting to explode an explosive during a political convention, leading him to reconsider his plan. Two female MMA fighters conspire to throw their upcoming match in order to increase their salary. To determine who will win the fight, they compete in a private competition.
How Was it Taken by The Audience?
The critical response to Room 104 has been overwhelmingly good. The first season received a 65 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 22 reviews. It has an 87 percent acceptance rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.85 out of 10 based on 39 reviews. “Room 104 exploits its anthology framework to its advantage, telling a succession of short, varied pieces that strike their marks more often than they miss,” says the site's critical consensus.
Ben Travers of IndieWire gave the second season a “B+” grade after reviewing it in its entirety. “The variety of storytelling on exhibit develops such tingly anticipation, each new episode is worth it even when the plot disappoints,” he wrote, adding that “even when it's bad, it's good.”
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