A week after it premiered, Principle, Middle and End is certainly one of those programs that share opinions. There are those who love the creative audacity and unconventionality of Bruno Nogueira and his society, those who hated the more nonsensical side of the format (including cultural professionals) and also those who expressed mixed feelings. During the six episodes, only the most loyal audience promises to stay. This Sunday, April 18th, the second chapter aired on SIC.
The logic is always the same. Bruno Nogueira, Salvador Martinha, Filipe Melo and Nuno Markl meet for two hours in a studio where they have to write a script. The starting point is the same: a dinner with friends with the same characters who have certain characteristics.
Then the actors – a quintet played by Albano Jerónimo, Jessica Athayde, Nuno Lopes, Rita Cabaço and Bruno Nogueira themselves – have to interpret the script exactly as it was written. If there are typos or mistakes of any kind, you must pronounce the text that way.
The best moments
Dialogues and narrative logic
One of the best things about this program is that while there is a consistent line, all episodes can be very different: because the script is always different. This means that there can be ups and downs in the six episodes, but most importantly it creates a certain unpredictability that is great in a television program.
This second installment of Principle, Middle and End was a step forward in terms of a script. This was noticed right at the beginning of the program, when screenwriters were able to develop the text more quickly and materialize it with the actors. There seemed to be greater narrative logic with no glowing portals showing up in the middle of the forest, and this benefited the plot. As always, there is balanced slang dialogue with great humor strips.
The surprising appearance of José Carlos Pereira
In the scene where Paulo returns from the kitchen and his friends pretend to have organized a surprise birthday party, one of them is José Carlos Pereira, dressed in his doctor’s dress, singing congratulations and clapping his hands excitedly. It’s completely surprising and disarming – and best of all, the scriptwriters haven’t given in to the temptation to line you up or try to come up with some explanation. The characters didn’t even make reference to this otherworldly apparition, and this created one of the most nonsensical and funniest moments in the episode, especially given the story of José Carlos Pereira as a public figure.
The sequence of drunkenness
At some point the characters decide to drink margaritas until they almost fall to the side – at that moment they will be ready to be really real and say whatever they think of their friends who may not even be that good knowledge. Once again, the scriptwriters play with social dynamics that we can all identify with. And then there’s the celebratory scene where they’re drunk, armed with props, and doing insane deeds (which often involve plant destruction) under an appropriate soundtrack by The Prodigy. It is one of the best moments of this second episode when it was possible to explore the talent of the actors. And the unexpected conclusion fits well too.
The end of it all – Paulo without the dog
The last scene of the second episode, as the scriptwriters explained at the “beginning”, was to leave Paulo’s dog at his feet – which in itself would be funny considering that the dog is a kind of mascot that someone plays . The scriptwriters accidentally missed the word dog, so Paulo had to lie down at his feet in a fun (and at the same time almost tragic, from what we saw) scene played by the very talented Albano Jerónimo. It’s one of the best examples of how valuable mistakes can be and work wonders.
The Least Good Times (Or The Most Dubious Questions)
The coherence of the characters
The five friends who are the characters of “Principle, Middle and End”, of course, have certain characteristics. Obviously, it makes sense for screenwriters to study these characters with their personality traits in mind so that there is general consistency. Aside from having a different script every week, it’s very difficult for everything to go well and for these five characters to be the same from episode to episode. In this second chapter there was a closer approximation of certain characters to their essence (especially in the case of Luís Henrique), but there were some delays related to the first episode. It’s one of the biggest challenges in this program.
Studio distractions also distract the viewer
When the four screenwriters are gathered in the studio to write and invent a story, there are distractions in the production. In this second episode, there was a man who played mini-golf in a seemingly dangerous manner and a “gentleman eating shoe rack” who later did other things that are difficult to describe. You can of course see the idea of making Moments of Creation more fun – largely due to the reactions of the scriptwriters. But does it not only distract the audience, but also distract them at home? It’s something that pulls us out of our comfort zone, but the question remains whether or not it’s a winning bet.
Has Salvador Martinha been evicted?
Salvador Martinha is one of the best Portuguese comedians, an extremely creative, talented and fun person. But when we look at the “beginning” of the program, we are in doubt whether the comedian is out of place. He does not have the same fictional background as Bruno Nogueira, Nuno Markl or Filipe Melo – they have already founded a trio as friends and have an additional complicity in the project “Uma Nêspera no Cu”. Salvador Martinha suggests some of the lines or the funniest details of the dialogues, but it seems a little out of place in the overall picture of the script.
The physical side
It was a very important component in this second installment of Princípio, Meio e Fim. Filipe Melo asked about “linguadões” between the characters, Salvador Martinha suggested: “Why don’t you suck a finger?” As we already know, stone is the most physical character. After smelling Francisca’s skin intensely and pushing it away because it became uncomfortable, it was Jessica Athayde herself who kissed Nuno Lopes after a sympathetic gesture from Stone in the improvisation segment. The physical side seemed a little constrained in this second episode.
Also read the interview with Bruno Nogueira about “Princípio, Meio e Fim” and read NiT’s criticism of the first episode.