PFFR are responsible for some of the best comedy of the 21st Century, which is one of those grandiose statements that you presume must be false but they are behind shows like Wonder Showzen, The Heart She Holler, Xavier Renegade Angel and The Shivering Truth, while they’ve helped produce Delocated, John Glaser Loves Gear, At Home With Amy Sedaris and Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter. All are examples of gorgeously funny comedy, and this is another show they’ve helped make it on to the air though in this case it is just as producers as it was created and written by Bryan Connolly, Todd Rohal and Zack Carlson, who’d previously made The Suplex Duplex Complex for Adult Swim.
Bar that previous short they’ve no link to PFFR but their work seems influenced by them, and though so far only two episodes have been produced I hope we get to see a lot more of it if only because it’s unpredictable, surreal, absurd and filled with very funny moments, and both of them are beautifully shot and smartly written piece with some superb performances from the likes of Emo Phillips, Derek Mears and Randy E. Aguebor. I’ve no idea if more are planned, several days (or minutes, it was one or the other) worth of googling failed to bring up much information about the series but given how strange and unique it is it’d be a real shame if more weren’t made and I’d happily watch this bizarre bunch of weirdos for years to come.
The first episode begins with the trio all about to commit suicide with nooses around their necks, but because they’re in the same building and using the same piece of extremely long rope when they jump in to the air rather than breaking their necks they’re slung all over the place, miserably (but hilariously) failing to fulfil their wishes to end their lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly after their failed suicide attempt they’re still miserable with Bart (Randy E. Aguebor) drily commenting “What could possibly be better than death?” but by chance a dating show comes on the tv called “Don’t Die Alone” and they all rush off to appear on it, managing to do so at an impossible speed. It’s your standard Blind Date (or The Dating Game for US readers) set up with a nervy librarian asking the trio questions, which as this is a PFFR affair means she gets answers which are either bleak or bizarre, with Cecil (Emo Phillips) telling a disturbing tale about how he once played chicken with a school bus leading to the deaths of many children in an icy pond, Bart just saying either “Shut up” or “Kiss My Arse”, while Chet (Derek Mears) reveals that he has a sentient stomach, complete with a disfigured face, that he calls Irvine.
Thought it couldn’t get any odder? Again, this is PFFR so of course it does, as there’s a talent based portion of the show which sees Cecil performing The Canterbury Tales while playing a lute and randomly changing in to Einstein and Hitler. After this Bart meets the love of his life who happens to be his doppelganger bar that she’s wearing a dress, and when both of them blow kisses at each other the kisses are brutally powerful, causing dismay and destruction in all directions. And Chet? Well, he’s suddenly in control of the show and screwing with Cecil, and then restrained in a Hannibal Lecter-esque get up, which is something which should apply to all three if they existed in real life, but thankfully they don’t. Or do they? Is it possible that this is an autobiographical tale? Well, I don’t know, and quite frankly I’m too scared to find out.
The second episode is a spin on the Fantastic Voyage type films where people are shrunk down to size and injected in to someone’s body, as many might’ve guessed when they heard it was entitled “Terrific Journey”. In it the gang take part in some “Gross Anatomy” and perform an autopsy on a live body, and come complete with new member Rufus (Miraj Grbic) whose addition is never explained but hey, it’s not like this is in any way a conventional show so there’s no real need for them to do so. After a brief organ fight (something I personally will never get tired of seeing, at least when it’s played for over the top slapstick laughs as it is here) they go to the canteen but after accidentally walking in to the Biopsy lab next door Chet chows down on some diseased body parts and is soon dangerously ill.
Not that the rest care, after he tells them to leave him to die they chirpily respond “Okay”, but decide to help in the end, and after being shrunk down and inserted in to him they seem pretty happy, with Bart commenting “It’s so pretty, look at all the cysts, blood and puss…. Chet, your body is absolutely breathtaking”. And then because logic is something they enjoy not giving a fuck about suddenly Chet’s with them inside his own body, and they have a guided tour around various parts including his penis (which is a room full of old sad looking men) and later his eye where after they get snack-ish he shoves a sod load of food in to it. It’s almost the opposite to the first episode in the way as it starts off in a daft manner but then ends bleakly, as the gang are in Chet’s brain causing chaos and speculating on what the afterlife is like, with Bart mentioning that Heaven is “A lot of dirt. And you’re completely surrounded by it from all sides as you lay entombed in a dark box forever. Darkness for eternity. A blackness more still and cold than any despair that you’ve ever known”. But hey, knowing this lot they’ll be cheery again soon, and then many other emotions, a good few of which will be deranged.
These two episodes are deliriously messed up, silly, daft and joyously weird, and most importantly they made me laugh an awful lot. They’re exquisitely directed too, looking quite Tim Burton-esque, but the Tim Burton from the 1980’s before he started vomiting up absolutely horrid cinematic turds. Despite much of the subject matter they’re oddly life affirming and upbeat, and the characters are well defined and appealing right from the beginning which is quite the feat considering how unusual the show is. The slapstick elements are pulled off perfectly, whoever designed the sets deserves many an award, and all of the actors involved do so too, so yeah, I’m rather taken with this show as you may have guessed and really recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind feeling occasionally distressed while watching comedy.
You can watch both episodes on Todd Rohal’s Vimeo Channel.