For six strange episodes, audience members with a Peacock subscription were able to follow the unusual story of Paul T. Goldman, a man who discovered one of his ex-wives was unfaithful to him and might have been involved in prostitution… only to see the story take several left turns from there. Paul Finkelman plays Paul T. Goldman, a character he created for the benefit of telling his story, first through the pages of a novel titled “Duplicity: A True Story of Crime and Deceit,” and now through this Peacock series helmed by Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm director Jason Woliner. Over the course of the series, though, the audience’s opinion of Paul and his actions were meant to shift and evolve the more details about the man’s life were revealed. And Finkelman trusted Woliner to properly tell his story, unbelievable as it may be. So when Paul T. Goldman dropped its season finale on Peacock, I had to ask Woliner what Paul’s reaction to the season ended up being.
The rest of this story is going to get into major spoilers for Paul T. Goldman, so basically, stop reading now if you don’t want to know what happens throughout the series and – especially – in the finale.
Paul Finkelman isn’t a reliable narrator. Though he begins the series by telling the story of his marriage to a con artist, and his belief that she was involved in an international sex-trafficking scheme, we begin to learn that Finkelman’s story might not be accurate. Primarily because at one point in the season – when Paul’s ex-wife and her pimp were “arrested” – Paul reveals to Jason Woliner that he made that part up.
Paul begins to admit that, in a series of books he kept writing called The Paul T. Goldman Chronicles, Finkelman started shaping the narrative to fit what he believed. This included turning Paul into an international investigator – 007 meets Mr. Bean – and even saw Paul meeting President Barack Obama. The problem is, Paul started to really believe these lies. And we watched him be confronted by the truth in the series finale.
It wasn’t comfortable. So when I got the chance to speak with Jason Woliner as the finale was dropping, I asked him how Paul felt about the show, now that it had concluded. And the director told CinemaBlend:
The format of Paul T. Goldman is extremely unusual. Because of shows like The Office and Parks & Rec, where characters playing a part behave in similar fashion to Paul, it takes at least three episodes before you finally come to terms with the reality that Paul isn’t faking. He’s a genuine person who acts like a television character. And his exaggerated reality, documented in The Paul T. Goldman Chronicles, do play out like Michael Scott’s imaginary movie Threat Level Midnight from NBC’s The Office.
So Paul had an unexpected issue with the series, as Jason Woliner went on to explain:
No matter how you slice it, Paul T. Goldman has been a fascinating experiment for Peacock, and another remarkable achievement in emotionally cringey comedy for Jason Woliner, who sharpened that blade in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Make sure to catch up with it using your Peacock (opens in new tab) subscription, if you made it this far (somehow) but haven’t watched yet.