Cult Classics: Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree

joe pera christmas tree index

I recently rambled on about just how amazing Joe Pera is in a review of season 2 of his show Joe Pera Talks With You, but my first ever exposure to the man was this sort of Christmas special and the follow up to his successful one off Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep. It’s quite different to Talks You To Sleep though and works as a pilot for his regular series that currently airs on Adult Swim, introducing us to his friends like Gene and his beloved Nana, as well as giving us a glimpse of his working life.

For anyone who’s not seen Joe Pera Talks With You, well firstly you’re in for an absolute treat when you do see it (links can be found at the bottom of the article to legal ways to view it in the UK and US), but it’s also an extremely sweet and gentle show where comedian Joe Pera talks about his favourite subjects, and we often get to see little moments of the simplistic but utterly charming life he lives.

That’s the case with Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree too, it initially sets out to be just a guide to all of the different Christmas Trees you could buy, and which one might be best, but quickly becomes much more than that. Part of the utter joy of the programme is Joe’s use of language, as he shares his love for Christmas trees with us and talks about how finding the perfect tree “Is as hard as kicking a field goal in to the wind”, with the analogy then becoming even more complicated and involving cheerleaders wearing turtle necks and whether that’s because one is hiding a hickey kiss. And of course the glorious absurdity of it all is that Pera is one of the least likely human beings to ever score a field goal, but that doesn’t stop his dream from being endearing.

During the rest of the episode we meet Joe’s various friends (some of whom make it in to the series, though not all) and get an insight in to Joe’s job as a choir teacher where he has concerns as the kids are getting confused between the songs “Snow snow snow” and “Snow snow snow snow”, somewhat understandably, and though Joe is undoubtedly the geekiest of teachers, at one point putting on a wig and pretending to be John Denver, you can’t help but wish he’d been your music teacher.

It’s slight harder edged than the normal series, what with Joe’s friend Patrick mocking him and the revelation that Joe was catfished eleven times in two days (with him muttering “Jeez Louise that was bad”), while Joe won’t comment about fake Christmas trees as “This is a family show”, and I’m glad they dispensed with this element the majority of the time as it’s never fun to see Joe on the receiving end of unpleasantness. The majority is still bloody lovely though, and packed with extremely funny lines and observations, the best of which involve Gene’s beliefs about what will happen when Manhattan goes under water and Joe’s fantasy about having a wife and kids.

One of the very last scenes even brought tears to my eyes, such is it’s kindhearted sentiment, but the show has a killer final line which will make you love it even more. As Christmas Specials go (even if it was technically the first ever episode) it’s right up their with the very best of them, and if you want your family to fall madly in love with you and proclaim your taste in comedy as the best ever known then just show them this on Christmas Day.

★★★★ 1/2

Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
If you’re in the UK you can watch Joe Pera Talks With You and this Christmas special on the All4 Site.
And if you’re in the US you can watch it on Adult Swim’s site.
Our review of Joe Pera Talks With You Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2.

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