There was a big stretch in my life wherein I stopped watching regular television, with only the occasional exception. Really, nothing other than NBC's thursday night lineup, and TiVo'd episodes of Conan had my attention. So I decided that I would now start catching up on the crazy handful of shows I hear people raving about and have vied for my attention one way or another. When I actually have time to check out new shows or anything like such, I will do a write up of my opinion and if I will be a recurring viewer. Because you care.
As well, I will be touching upon some TV that I actually do try to keep up with, mainly serial series and such.
SO, let us get on with it.
Delocated (Adult Swim, created by and starring Jon Glaser)
I find it absolutely amazing how, far one show can take a gag, and have it work almost every step of the way, without it getting tired in the slightest. Delocated takes its premise and just runs with it, resulting in some of the best comedy produced in recent years. From its writing to its direction and handling of the single-cam, mockumentary genre, this show borders comedic genius with pushing lines of audacity at every step. The show partially steps over the line, into sheer brilliance with the joke that is its main character, and everything about him, which would be for naught without the show’s creator, producer, and writer Jon Glaser.
For those who don’t know what Delocated is, it is a “reality show” following a man, Jon, who is part of the Witness Protection Program, as he is being hunted by the Russian mob. In turn, for the show and his general safety, Jon is ALWAYS wearing a ski-mask and has his voice doctored, so it sounds like criminals on a news show or something. The way he looks and sounds alone is a joke that Glaser and crew manage to use to their full advantage constantly, without overusing it and tripping over their selves. Putting Jon in the most casual of clothing and situations alone results in guaranteed hilarity, especially because of his lame demeanor. Jon is a bit of a jerk, but an obliviously idiotic one. He tends to think he’s funny and often better than many people, but is a shockingly sensitive person. Glaser’s delivery and handling is beautiful, combined with his looks and voice in tow.
Aside from that perfectly composed juxtaposition, the show actually manages to get some insane situations set up for Jon to be thrust into. Filled with even more absurd characters and plot points, Delocated is slowly developing to be one of the best comedy shows on air. Though alternative in tone and approach, it really approaches the top of the line in terms of quality against other programs of its caliber, be it stuff like Children’s Hospital or Portlandia (tonally.) I hope this show has a good life and either continues deservedly, or ends on its highest note. Regardless, we’ve got two seasons of amazing material, and I highly recommend checking all of it out, and staying tuned as the current season develops, as from season one to two, it clearly improved to shocking heights, and won’t stop.
Like it: Yes
Continue to Watch it: Yes
Workaholics (Comedy Central, by Kyle Newacheck, Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm)
Workaholics is a fun show. It takes on the buddy dynamic set up by millions before, like its kind, and pushes an absurd nature that has also been explored before in similar fashion. What this show actually has going for it lies in what many similar shows have since abandoned. The clear comparison is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Though ridiculously similar in the asshole-like nature evoked, It’s Always Sunny, as benounced to all its fans, has grown into something much, much more. Be it for the better or worse, that show has gone from casual ass-like chums hanging out and complaining in a bar, to absolutely bonkers and out of whack, to a possibly dark degree, too. Think Wet Hot American Summer, if you watched the “going to town” scene for 30 minutes on end.
Alright, this isn’t a review of It’s Always Sunny, so let me make my point. Workaholics has taken on that level of friendship It’s Always Sunny and many other shows used to play with, and kept it up, despite how antagonistic the three protagonists can be to each other. Much like the Jackass crew, no matter how much they can be dicks to each other, they will still be friends in the end. The three leads, the titularly ironic workaholics, share a bond that is engrossing and just sheer fun in watching. They’re dumb, all three of them, but dumb in a strangely unique way. The crew behind this show (its director and the three leads) seems to have a great rapport both off and on the camera, which clearly has translated well onto the screen. You’ve got your huge asshole, the straight shooter, and the idiot with goofy hair, but they’ve got their own special voices collectively and individually, making for great fun and chemistry.
Even greater is that the show still pushes itself to go for broke in terms of plots to follow and things to do, and yet maintains that strong and grounded relationship in the end. Things can go haywire for the characters, and that just makes everything better, and results in more enjoyment and ridiculous humor. Note that the characters are generally supposed to be unlikeable to a level, and are dumb… really dumb, which can turn off many, known or not. But if you’re up for absurdist humor and writing, then this show is a strong entry into your television comedy-watching roster.
The first season is on Netflix, and I highly advise y’all to give it a shot.
Like it: Yes
Continue to Watch it: Yes
Peep Show (Channel Four, starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb)
British television, comedy or not, always tends to be more and more creative, as more and more shows are created. Peep Show, running since 2003, is a show that I’ve only recently been turned onto thanks to still images on Tumblr- yes, I’m one of those people (a Filipino teenage boy.) The writing in mini-quotes has always been top-notch, but what truly caught my attention was the framing of these freeze-frames. Characters were looking directly into the camera, and a lot of the shots were at interesting angles. To my surprise, the show turns out to be entirely in first person of somebody in the scene, mainly of the two main characters. Those who are already fans of the show will laugh at my realization, but whatever- I’m still impressed on how clever of an idea this is.
The show also gives you internal monologue- a technique detested by some, but I, like many others, find a good source of exposition or emotion or comedy. Of course, we get the latter, to very strong results. The writing is quick, snappy, but somehow natural feeling, in this Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm kind of way, most notably in how awkward every situation tends to be. What’s great is that this show highlights those terribly awkward moments from those Larry David involved programs, but highlights and raises the personal level of it by making it first person. Plus, the quality of the dialogue and ideas taking the characters into such cringe-worthy moments is just so great and clever in a consistent fashion. Visual gags are plenty and welcome.
Of course, being a British program, it is fairly dry, but tends to be quick in its punch-lines as well, impressively so. It maintains a pace that is both relentless and steady, making for an easily fun time. A definite watch if you have Netflix and are a fan of humor from the UK.
Like it: Yes
Continue to Watch it: Yes
Wow, a shockingly strong line-up in this installment (not shocking in the slightest.) So yeah, tune in CONSTANTLY for new write-ups for more shows that I absolutely love and think you should check out, or shows that I think are god-awful and that you must hate with me. Or on occassion, shows that are middling, but I feel have a fighting chance in improving! Also, I'll talk about the occasional classic once in a while.
Next up, I have planned reviews for serial comedies Eastbound and Down, and the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and I plan on checking out AMC's drama selections minus Breaking Bad. I haven't seen a full episode of Mad Men or The Walking Dead, so this should be fun, right?
If you have ideas for what I should watch or write my opinion about, post them in the comments!
Thanks for reading!