If you search on youtube for parodies or spoofs of shopping channels you’ll find over one billion and eighteen videos, with the very first being made just seconds after QVC first went on air. So for a tv show to be based around a satire of such a thing it needs to be pretty bloody funny if it’s to avoid feeling like a hackneyed and tired affair, and luckily for every human being and animal who enjoys watching tv Rob Huebel’s Swords, Knives, Very Sharp Objects and Cutlery manages to do this in a seemingly effortless way.
Based on the character he first played in NTSF:SD:SUV, Huebel’s in the guise of Dragon Shumway, a weapons expert who’s trying to sell a selection of sharp blades to the world, with his wife Shoshi (Ko Hawkes) also part of the channel though her mysterious “Dragon Cream” has attracted no buyers. For the first couple of minutes while amusing it’s nothing that interesting as Dragon chats with his producer Kenny (Mark Proksch, as great here as he is in What We Do In The Shadows) and gets him to tell a bleak story about his step-dad and how Kenny wishes he’d had a “Penetrator” weapon to deal with him as “It’s a fancy masculine weapon”.
But it’s soon hinted at that there’s much more to Dragon Shumway than we’re being shown as a General Drake (Jerry Lambert) phones and it’s suggested that Shumway was once part of the Special Forces. Shumway tries to claim it’s a prank caller, and carries on advertising a sword collection (with a very amusing moment which includes supposed celebrity Indo Yammamoto (Hiroshi Ueha) slicing up a watermelon which comes complete with a Mr Potato Face), when suddenly General Drake turns up and we discover all about Shumway’s past, with a gloriously funny story about his exploits in Vietnam making the pilot essential viewing for anyone who enjoys very silly comedy.
From this point on it’s all action madness with Dragon attacked by ninjas, but it doesn’t forget to include some very sharp dialogue too, with Dragon’s “How did you find me?” and the General’s response “We turned on the tv” being my favourite of the episode, though a close second is when Shumway’s wife is taken hostage and he explains “I’m going to kill him, but not before he kills you, I can’t get there in time”.
I’m not convinced there’s much more that Huebel could have done with the shopping channel spoof elements but the character has an enormous amount of scope and could have been placed in all manner of unusual situations and still been funny. Huebel’s proven himself to be a truly talented writer and actor with Do You Want To See A Dead Body? and Medical Police, so Adult Swim really fucked up here by not giving this a full series.
You can watch the pilot on Youtube here.