A pilot created in 2012, Susan 313 starred Sarah Silverman, June Diane Raphael, Tig Notaro, the late and greatly missed Harris Wittels and Jeff Goldbum even pops up at one point and yet it still didn’t get picked up for a series. The studio who made it (20th Century Fox) was at least kind enough to allow Silverman to put it up on Jash for a short while, alas it’s currently unavailable to view which is pretty frustrating given how great it is but if it ever does appear online again I’ll post a link at the bottom of the page.
In the pilot Silverman stars as Susan, who’s just split up with her boyfriend and is moving back in to her apartment (no. 313, hence the title) that she had the whole ten years that they were together. Tig’s one of her neighbours who has a daughter Susan bonds with, and Jenny (June Diane Raphael) and Lloyd (Harris Wittels) also live in the same building, with the latter being a fan of Susan’s musical career even though she hasn’t released an album since the 90s. Susan seems to be coping well with the break up, at least until she suddenly isn’t and needs the help of those who live near her.
Much of the first seven minutes sets the scene and introduces the characters, it’s not hilariously funny but it’s amiable and very likeable and given it’s the pilot it’s understandable that a brief period of time is required to introduce the characters. And after that it becomes far stronger and contains some superb jokes and moments, from June Diane Ralphael complimenting Harris Wittels’ penis (it works in context, trust me) to Tig’s heartbreaking back story still seeing the character able to joke about being sold in to sex slavery (er, again, context is everything I promise). Plus at the end it finds the time to have Silverman duet with her ex-boyfriend Benny (Jeff Goldblum) and if that’s not worth the price of admission I don’t know what is, especially as this was free to watch.
What makes it different to your standard Friends-esque sitcom is that Silverman’s character narrates the piece and occasionally stops the action to discuss events with a focus group, Brian Huskey and Eddie Peppitone are two of those taking part so yeah, it’s essential viewing for that reason alone but the entire group contains some very funny individuals. It’s a great concept and pretty unique, especially as the group criticise her and point out she’s not sympathetic, only for Silverman to hit back and attack them for saying such cruel (if true) things. These sequences really work effectively and are the highlight of an already strong show.
It’s not the kind of thing which will have you laughing hysterically every single second but it’s the sort of show where you’ll beam throughout, and laughs can be found fairly regularly. It’s frank and honest and handles the various relationships between the characters well, and it has the second ever best use of Charlene’s I’ve Never Been To Me in a comedy (the first being this particular video which I’m semi-obsessed with). The only reason I can imagine that the network turned it down was because they thought the material was a bit strong for mainstream tv, and had it been produced for HBO, Showtime or Comedy Central I’m convinced it would have been a big hit.