Essential Episodes: Jon Glaser Loves Gear

Jon Glaser Loves Gear Essential Episode 1 indexThough it’s not officially been cancelled it doesn’t look like Jon Glaser Loves Gear will be returning to our screens given that the last episode aired in March 2019 and truTv have been frustratingly quiet on the subject ever since. Wikipedia has a questionable source stating that co-star Steve Cirbus has said it won’t be coming back too, so it sadly doesn’t look good, which is an enormous shame as it’s one of the funniest comedy series of the past decade.

Perhaps the reason it wasn’t a ratings hit is that each episode purports to be about Jon reviewing a selection of gear, be it accessories for activities like camping or photography, or sports like hockey or golf, and that might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world. But it’s actually only a framing device and after a few minutes the narrative always spins off in a completely unpredictable manner, with the show playing with many a familiar reality tv trope as well.

A big part of that is how Jon’s supposed real life wife (Miriam Tolan) gets very quickly fed up with appearing on the series and so demands the family be pixelized whenever they reluctantly do make an appearance, and to get around this Jon hires actors to play his “fake family”. They include an increasingly reluctant fake wife Eva (Sólveig Eva, superb throughout) who becomes quite fed up with Jon’s flirtations, and an overly enthusiastic version of his son (Charlie Jones) who quickly becomes one of the most valuable players in the series as he’s clearly very happy to go along with Glaser’s often crazily demented schemes.

I’ve chosen the fourth episode of the show for this feature as it’s a perfect introduction to Jon’s increasingly surreal world, and it follows the format in a beautifully absurd but funny way. Initially it’s just supposed to be all about the kind of gear you can buy for dogs, as once a month Jon and his family dog sit Rain, whose owner is in the army reserve, and because Jon’s a shameless egotist he claims “By caring for his dog I feel like I’m serving my country as well”. But after spotting a neighbour (Mike Massimino) refusing to pick up his dog’s poop Jon becomes infuriated, especially as when confronted the neighbour doesn’t care in the slightest, and a rather complicated revenge plan is then hatched (after he knocks back his fake son’s suggestion to create a prank show called “Shit Shamers”), where he takes the neighbour’s dog’s excretions and uses it as manure to grow tomatoes. Ninety four days later it’s fully grown, Jon pretends to apologise for getting angry with the neighbour and gives him a tomato to eat, then mocks him for eating a vegetable grown in dog shit the moment he does so.

You might think that’d be the end of the tomato subplot, but oh no, this version of Jon Glaser is something of an eccentric entrepreneur so when said neighbour isn’t bothered by the way it was grown, and declares it to be delicious, Jon creates an app that allows people to report dog shit that has been left in the street, and when they do so Jon goes out, collects it, and grows more tomatoes with it. Taking them to market they’re unsurprisingly not a hit – largely due to Jon using slogans declaring how the process involves “Ass To Mouth”, but the whole sequence is deliciously laugh out loud stuff and it’s impossible not to fall in love with Glaser’s unique mind / brand of comedy.

The final part of the episode revolves around Jon again seeing the neighbour fail to pick up his dog’s excrement, and so he hatches another plan to get revenge involving a fake dog shit and a remote control car, it’s a terrible scheme once again but seeing it play out is a joy. Well, at least until Rain supposedly gets hurt running away, and Jon lies to his owner about what happened, leading to a shocking act of violence, now the show doesn’t normally go to such dark places, but man, it’s gloriously funny when it does.

As well as the ludicrous storyline there’s an enormous amount to love about the show, from Jon’s over the top reactions to the smallest thing, like how he describes the dog’s accident as “An act of terrorism”, and his pig headed, selfish nature is mined for a huge amount of laughs throughout. Also in this episode he often talks in an oddly charming yet semi-patronising “Dog voice” repeating “I know” or “Oh, I know” when talking to Rain in a way that becomes funnier and funnier every time he does it.

Also fantastic is his relationship with Gear-i, a seemingly sentient app superbly voiced by John Hodgman, which is increasingly silly but very, very funny, with Gear-i becoming jealous by the way Jon refuses to say “I know” to him in this episode, while his real wife turns up a couple of times to highlight just how insane it must be to live with Jon, and yet his inability to recognise this just makes it all the funnier. Plus throughout his passion for gear shines, with him finding joy in even the dullest of objects, which again makes the character and the series even more adorable.

All of the above might sound rather deranged but if anything the series got even crazier as it went along, yet it also never stopped being captivating tv as it was always hilarious and never failed to delight with it’s inventive ways. So despite my lamenting the fact that it came to an end after two seasons at the beginning of the article maybe that is for the best, as we were given twenty perfect episodes, any of which could have been the subject of this feature, and it’s a series which will hopefully find the audience it deserves at some point in the future.

Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
Our review of Jon Glaser Loves Gear Season 2 Episode 10.
Our review of Jon Glaser Loves Gear Season 2 Episode 1.

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