Friday, November 2, 2007

Now that’s some funny shit right there

Who’s got their finger on the laughter sign this season? Who is further defining themselves as possibly the most important show of our generation? How the folks in big corporate TV are starting to get what the funny really is. There’s no clever spin on how I present these, the shows are strong enough in their own right and most are available on basic cable (sorry to outclass you last time Mike).

The Office: NBC
Oh the BBC version is so much better, the US version has run its course…says the prick who clearly doesn’t get why our version is not trying to duplicate the success of the BBC’s and why office humor is some of the best around. The subtle nuances and awkwardness of interacting with various types of people is best personified in the professional realm. You put up a front or act when working, clearly the person you are on a sales call is not the same person who tries to get a girls number at a bar with a Jaberbomb on his shirt, and that’s why when your personal life mixes with your professional the hilarity ensues. Michael Scott and Co. are successful because they write and act the parts making them eccentric yet recognizable…you know these people, you work with these people. Although this season’s hour long episodes almost exhausted me, this has been a stellar start to a show that should have run out of ideas two years ago. 10 Schruete Bucks to the crew at The Office.

30 Rock: NBC
The Office’s redheaded stepchild…not even close. The cast of 30 Rock rivals that of The Office and in some ways wins. Where this show succeeds is in the point the finger at me approach. Mocking corporate America, the suits, the absurdity of celebritism (made up word) and of course NBC mocking NBC and what once was the flagship youth show in SNL (of course FOX has mastered the art of making fun of FOX over the years). Baldwin, Fey and Morgan, it simply doesn’t get much better than that…but it does. The rest of the cast is pitch perfect and tailor made for the character’s. Although I don’t like the page on the show, he remains a popular fixture, proof that even in a slapstick, one liner show, they is layered writing and characters that are written to appeal to a variety of viewers.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: FX
I’ve wanted to get into this show for sometime now. I always saw clips or previews and it looked like something I’d like, for some reason I never put out the effort to find. Man am I glad I did. The humor didn’t really hit me until about the third episode I watched, but as I watched an episode last night I found myself laughing aloud several times, now I’m hooked. The show is hyper. Written for AAHD’s in their mid-20’s to mid 30’s. It plays on the reality of amounting to nothing in life and how who you were in HS is who you will always been in your hometown. The characters are outrageous and the dialogue so incredibly dumb yet insanely brilliant at the same time, which is not easy to do (see blog). The show is at it’s best when the arguments breakout, which is about 4 times an episode. The floodgates unhinge and the tidal wave of one off the wall, perfect one liners comes at you from all sides. The half-cocked ventures these bartenders get themselves into are balanced perfectly by the comedic expertise of veteran Danny DeVito, whose mere involvement of the show pays respect to the level of writing involved. Grab a beer at this local whetting spot, skip the bill, hit on the bartender’s sister (she’s easy) and snag a wallet on the way out.

South Park: Comedy Central
The Greatest Comedy of our generation? Time will tell, for now The Simpson’s has reached all time lows, abandoning our generation and tossing candy at the kids to regain a fanbase. South Park, they aim to piss off everyone. EVERYONE. And not just piss you off, but rather make people start petitions, call city officials, file lawsuits and call Al Sharpton. We may be going to Hell in a handbucket for this show, but at least we are enjoying the ride! I have and Exxxtremely high tolerance when it comes to humor and pressing buttons, some may say it’s kinda my bag, others my Achilles. Either way, the shit cracks me up. I had never been offended by South Park until the went after a kid who had cancer…for the first time it struck a chord, I finally got how the show rips at people. It was then I realized the power of this show. Where it’s peers (Family Guy, Drawn Together, Aqua Teen) rely on quick blurbs and Internet humor, SP remains hugely topical, with episodes completed weeks, sometimes days before airing, giving it an edge over any other animated show. The cast in this one is beyond words…pure brilliance. Things are always more interesting and honest through the eyes of a child...even a child like Cartman.

Family Guy: FOX
Yeah, the show I just talked junk about, well I’ll be honest, it’s hilarious as well. I’m not going into a long description on this one, because I’ve only caught one episode this season, but I will say this show has progressed most unexpectedly. At the height of the show being noting but a platform for a string of 5 second pieces of TV eye candy, the show grew a back bone and develop a plot to its episodes (ironically this started not long after the fellas over at SP ran Family Guy through the gutter). The one episode I did watch this year is one of the funniest and most well written animated shows I have ever seen (the Star Wars espisode). At the same time its nothing more than a farce. The story had already been written, seen, loved and worshiped by millions, we know the flaws of Star Wars and they are easy to pick at…at that’s about the extent of what Family Guy brings to the table.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: HBO
In what will likely be it’s final season, Larry David and his who’s who in comedic assemble never seize to amaze me. Written on the run, adlibbed dialogue and situational humor that would make even me uneasy…this show has a real formula and it is a runaway success. Prior to the start of the new season I heard a interview on NPR with a few members of the cast, it got me drooling. So far the show has been so awkwardly hilarious that it’s been difficult to watch, and that’s a compliment. Taking in a family, the Blacks, who are black, genius, and having Cheryl leave Larry as added a much needed and much appreciated new dimension to the show. The Anonymous episode is among the best sitcom performances I’ve ever watched. The scene where Larry’s agent admits to masturbating at Larry’s house is priceless. The laughter and smiles of those on camera bring the realness and spontaneity of the show to life, you can just see Larry and Ted Danson do all they can to keep from losing it on camera in this clearly adlibbed scene.

Flight of the Conchords: HBO
I told you this would be good, I was wrong, it was you know like really really good. Right? I haven’t wanted to hang out with the characters on a TV show since the OC went off the air, I would ditch all my friends to hang out with these clowns. Jermaine is the best character since Borat. The insecurity, the social mocking and sadness of the characters are unreal. The reverse comedy and racism towards New Zealanders with highly relatable friendship/roommate humor and this thing was a hit! The Agent Murry is the funniest supporting character since Moe on the Simpsons. The simpleness (in accent) of this show makes it tick. These hipsters could have taken an underground approach, joking about things only the kids in the know could relate too, instead they give us leather jackets, non-beer drinking, “Prince grocery shopping”, Bowie as a source of guidance and cell phone-camera humor.
I’ll give you an early warning, Demetri Martin has his own show next year (he was in the spinoff band episode), you heard it here first.

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