As much as I enjoyed season one of Hulu’s Behind the Mask, a reality series that follows several mascots, I don’t remember having an episode-one kind of immediate response that involves watery eyes. But there they were, in the first 23 minutes.
Season one of director Josh Greenbaum’s series was occasionally and surprisingly emotional, but there’s something about the cast for season two that I connected with immediately in the first episode. (All 10 episodes are now online, though only the first is free without Hulu Plus. Season one is entirely free.)
I won’t pretend that there isn’t a lot of craft at work here, and it does retain some season-one problems, but the finished product is once again so simple and clean that it doesn’t feel like a heavy-handed attempt to squeeze tears out of my crusty, dry eyes. It’s just footage of the mascots in action and in their lives, punctuated by interviews with them and people they know.
Behind the Mask season 2’s mostly new cast
The cast is all new except Chad Spencer, AKA “Tux The Penguin,” who’s trying to go pro. There’s also a freelance mascot, Chris, who’s 25 and autistic, whose mom embarrasses him in public but also tells the camera about bullying he’s faced and says, “I just wish he could be a mascot every day.” Joel, the San Francisco Giants mascot who hasn’t missed a ame in 15 years, hasn’t seen his father in an even longer time. Finally, the cast includes Navey, a high school mascot who can’t play football because she’s female, and who tells us, “I’m still out there playing, but playing on the sidelines. Playing my own game, that I made up.”
Watch and see what you think: