Tv Review: The Iliza Shlesinger Show Season 1 Episode 1

The Iliza Shlesinger Show Season 1 Episode 1Netflix seem to be one of the very few network’s interested in making sketch shows right now and so far their track record has been pretty strong, with I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show and Alternatino with Arturo Castro all being very funny efforts packed with some inventive and pleasingly funny sketches in each and every episode.

Now admittedly I’ve only seen the first episode of Iliza Shlesinger’s series but given how disappointing it is it definitely won’t be joining them in that list of critically acclaimed series, mainly because it’s just so average, most of the sketches had the odd moment which made me smile but many a time I found myself sitting their stony faced, waiting for the sketch to deliver or do something unsurprising and unpredictable. Alas it was a wait which was nearly always in vain, and all too often it’s the case that the concept for the sketch is the main joke, and with it being a fairly weak concept at that.

Take a sketch where some advertising execs are eating apples and pomegranates and spitting the juice all over the place for example, it goes on and on without ever doing anything new, just doubling down on the idea until we’re supposed to find it funny, but that just didn’t happen for me. “Female Jackass” suffers from the same issue, the gag is that rather than physical stunts the women involved perform “Emotional stunts”, where they confront their ex’s or friends that they don’t really get on with, and it’s something that needed to be expanded upon, but sadly isn’t, so the joke is weak from the get go and never evolves in to anything interesting or amusing.

Some of the sketches are a bit annoying too, an advert for a supposed tv show called “Husband Wife” sees Shlesinger as “A bro”, the idea being that she’s unconventional as she’s not feminine but instead is laddish / revolting. There’s one good joke where her husband comments about “Unexpected sleeping challenges” but the rest of it is jokes about shitting and being tiresomely masculine and it’s weak stuff indeed.

There’s the occasional sliver of surrealism like an airplane which is owned by a weird bearded potential psychopath who talks a lot of nonsense, and a trailer for “All The Tiny Dogs”, a documentary about a singer who has a career based around writing songs for dogs, but they’re only intermittently funny. The latter has one good joke where it’s advertised as “From the Casting Director of America’s Worst Birds” but in general it’s repetitive and while at least the idea is cute it’s not developed in any particularly amusing ways.

Perhaps this first episode is for some reason the weakest, or that over the following five episodes they’ll play around with the sketches they devise in a more inventive manner so that they start to become amusing, but alas I’ll never know as this episode is so bland that I can’t face watching another. Iliza Shlesinger has proven that she’s a fairly decent stand up comedian over the years and she’s certainly a decent enough performer in the various different sketches, but the writing really lets the side down and so it’s something I’ll never see a single second more of.

★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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