Comedy Snippets: 10/05/2019

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Short reviews of tv and film comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.

Dead Pixels Series 1 Episode 1
Conceptually Dead Pixels is a great idea as a group of friends play a fantasy game online all from different locations, while it also deals with the humdrum dullness of their day to day lives. Centred around Meg (Alexa Davies) it begins with her on a date, but when Nicky (James Acaster lookalike Will Merrick) phones her to say she must return to the game as their castle is being stormed as much as she tries to resist she can’t, so it’s set up fairly quickly that she prefers virtual life to the real one. Also part of their online team is Usman (Sargon Yelda) an American father who’s a terrible parent, keeping his kid in what he continually claims is definitely not a cage, and then a new guy from the office called Russell joins, but is so bad at it that they end up murdering his character for his possessions. As you might have guessed there’s a good few jokes about nerd culture but it’s also sex obsessed (with Meg constantly going on about the lack of action in her life, at one point commenting “I’m telling you my female gonad has awoken from it’s slumbers” and disappearing to “the bog” to masturbate while at work) and it’s this element that becomes pretty tiresome and made me struggle with the show. Also a problem is that the characters are thinly sketched out and not particularly likeable when they’re meant to be, and there’s a feeling throughout that it could be so much more than it is and that it squanders it’s premise with tacky gags about fucking which aren’t original in the slightest. As always I’ll give it one more go as I don’t like to write off a series after just one episode unless it’s truly awful, but it’ll have to up it’s game an enormous amount to get me watching the whole series.

Santa Clarita Diet Season 3 – Episodes 4 – 10
Unfortunately Victor “Better Off Ted / Andy Richter Controls the Universe” Fresco’s latest comedy series has been recently cancelled and I can’t help but feel that Netflix have been truly foolish to do such a thing. This is mainly because despite it’s dark subject matter and often high death count it’s a frothy delight as Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel Hammond (Timothy Olyphant) negotiate life with the minor problem that Sheila is dead and craves flesh and blood most of the time. Never taking itself too seriously it’s built up a great supporting cast with daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and friend / potential beau Eric (Skyler Gisondo) off on various crazy adventures of their own, and former victim and sentient talking head Gary (originally played by Nathan Fillion but in the third series by Alan Tudyk) helps the Hammond’s out with their business from the basement and via phone and the net. Barrymore was a little forced in the first season but relaxed in to the role in the second and third and is turning in some great performances while the big surprise, and the show’s greatest comedic talent, is Timothy Olyphant who’s slightly manic but nearly always upbeat and he’s been hilarious in pretty much every scene he’s appeared in. This third season once again saw the Hammond’s at risk of being discovered and Eric and Abby potentially arrested for blowing up the local fracking site, yet while the plots have intrigued it’s always been the strength of the jokes and the characterisation that’s brought me back time and again. I really hope another network picks the show up, but if not then we at least get a spin off series with Alan Tudyk’s disturbingly decaying Gary.

Scot Squad – Series 5 Episode 1
I’ve never seen an episode of this show before and perhaps the fifth series isn’t the best place to start, but I’ve not been able to track down earlier episodes and the fifth is on BBC iPlayer right now so I thought I’d give it a shot. Yet another fake mockumentary it’s narrated by an annoying shouty type who interviews various cops and we also get to see them out and about on the beat, as I don’t know if they call it anymore, and the antics of those who work in the call centre. It’s not too bad either, at least if you haven’t seen any other show which parodies the lives of the police force, but if you compare it to comedies like Reno 911, Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Angie Tribeca it definitely suffers. This is at least a very British take on the genre with the cops investigating mostly rubbish crimes, and it did make me smile a few times and developed on some of it’s set ups in the second half in an amusing way, but it was rare that laughing took place.

This has been out a good while now and it looks like few cared for it, it has a surprisingly harsh 4.6 imdb rating and a few very mixed reviews. I’m quite fond of it though, it reminded me of the quirkier american indie films that were around in the early to mid nineties, with a hint of Wes Anderson in it’s portrayal of dysfunctional families, albeit with it’s own distinct style. There are certainly some issues, at times the narrative is extremely loose, and the ending disappointed a little, but Brett Gelman’s superb as are the rest of the cast with Michael Cera’s pretentious actor being a particular highlight.

Video Of The Week
An Emmy For Megan is one of the best online series yet made and now it’s back for a second season, if you’ve not watched the first then I may buy a gun and force you to do so, and if you have you should rush over to Vulture now where you can find out more about the new episodes and then view it.

Alex Finch.

Previous Comedy Snippets:
03/05/2019 – What We Do In The Shadows, Lazor Wulf, Al Murray’s Great British Pub Quiz, Brigsby Bear
26/04/2019 – Barry, Bonding, Special, Repo The Genetic Opera
19/04/2019 – Hot Streets, Lazor Wulf, Tacoma FD, The Tick, Safety Last
12/04/2019 – The Unexplainers, The Tick, The Funny Women Awards 2019, Popstars Never Stop Popping
04/04/2019 – Santa Clarita Diet, Abby’s, This Time With Alan Partridge, Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein
28/03/2019 – Wayne, Blockbusters, Bill And Ted Face The Music, Hoodwinked
21/03/2019 – Shrill, A.P. Bio, One Red Nose Day And A Wedding, PK
14/03/2019 – Corporate, The Harry Hill Movie, CJ7, The Day Will Come
07/03/2019 – This Time With Alan Partridge, Frank Skinner On Demand, Girlfriend’s Day, Comic Relief
28/02/2019 – Hot Streets, Warren, Mom, Stage Fright
21/02/2019 – Jon Glaser Loves Gear, Corporate, Doom Patrol, Nudist Colony Of The Dead
14/02/2019 – American Dad, Pen15, Afterlife, The Return Of Captain Invincible
07/02/2019 – The Other Two, Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas, Roast Battle, Guys And Dolls
31/01/2019 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Tigtone, Angie Tribeca, Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast
24/01/2019 – Oh Lucy!, Blark And Son, Angie Tribeca
17/01/2019 – The Day Shall Come, Family Guy, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast, Jon Glaser Loves Gear
10/01/2018- Best Week Ever With Paul F. Tompkins, Vice, Catastrophe, Angie Tribeca


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