One And Done: Coffin Dodgers

one and done coffin dodgers
Dave Jesers and Matthew Silverstein have a pretty impressive comedy cv, they’re best known for creating Drawn Together but they’ve also written for Andy Richter Controls The Universe, The Cleveland Show, Axe Cop, Life In Pieces and Fred Savage’s current series What Just Happened among various other programs. So given their credentials it’s a surprise that this wasn’t picked up for a full series, especially considering that it’s pretty damn funny.

Conceptually it’s basically Animal House, except that instead of the characters being immature teenagers they’re immature elderly people, and it starts with the eighty four year old Howie Blursky finally leaving home though instead of heading off to university he’s moving in to a retirement home and hopeful that he’ll finally lose his virginity. The main gag is that he acts like an overly excitable kid, as do many of those that he encounters of a similar age, discounting those who are suicidal and more than ready for death.

After Howie moves in he meets the manager Mr Dave who desperately wants to fuck him, because yes, this is extreme stuff indeed but they generate a lot of decent gags out of the scenario (the best line being Mr Dave’s “I simply cannot wait to paint you”), and they manage to avoid it seeming too creepy, most of the time at the least. Then Howie meets his roommate Artie, who regularly feigns strokes so that he can have free drugs, which is an idea I definitely plan to use if I ever find myself in such a place. The third main cast member is Roger, a 92 year old who suffers from Benjamin Button disease, and who’s a lot more cynical and mean than Howie or Artie, but the combination of the characters works well.

Apart from the search for sex the main plotline sees Roger and Artie believe that Howie is about to die after a cat jumps up on his bed, because according to Roger “When a cat sits on your bed in a nursing home it means at sundown you’re going to die”. Panic ensues, and in an attempt to somehow survive they look for someone else to take his place, presuming that if another person is in his bed it’ll be they who die instead. And because this is a deeply silly show the idea works, and a widow who’s desperately missing her husband ends up being sucked in to hell.

Pretty much all of the humour revolves around what it’s like to be old, and aspects are occasionally distasteful, with the show containing a couple of rape gags which are deeply obnoxious, as is the casual use of the word “retarded”. It’s a shame as otherwise there’s a lot to like about the episode, from a “Go to the light training seminar” which has a strong pay off at the end, a game of “Seven Minutes In Heaven” which is literally that with a defibrillator on hand to bring participants back from the dead, and the use of a live action video to demonstrate how Howie can escape his fate made me chuckle a good deal. The whole thing is quite Ren and Stimpy-ish in it’s sudden over the top anger and violence, and the animation is mostly impressive with a lot of cartoonish madness going on.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the pilot was made for Adult Swim I might have suggested that the reason it wasn’t given a full series could be because some of the humour was a bit too extreme, but Adult Swim often specialise in gross and over the top comedy so it seems unlikely in this case. Perhaps they found the humour a bit one note and that is the case at times, but I’d have hoped it would have become more varied over time. As it is we’ll never know, unless Jesers and Silverstein manage to pitch it to another network, but as Adult Swim turned it down I’d be amazed if any other channel found it palatable.

Alex Finch.
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Related Link:
You can watch the pilot of Dailymotion here.

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