Joe Pera Talks With You is pretty much the antithesis to every other Adult Swim series, a warm, kindhearted, slow paced affair where Joe talks about a number of subjects, but often makes digressions and we get to see various scenes from his life. While it’s definitely one of the funniest shows on the channel it’s also undoubtedly the loveliest, the most thoughtful, the sweetest, and all manner of adjectives along those lines.
Watching an episode feels like having taken the most relaxing country break you can ever imagine as Joe is full of enthusiasm and excitement over the smallest things, and he is capable of sharing his joy for existence in beautifully captivating ways. I could listen to him talk about the most boring of subjects for hours on end as he has such a way of words, and such a unique take on existence, which is why his show is perfect for creating a lockdown special out of.
Unlike the normal series there’s no narrative here, it just features Joe talking over a selection of old footage that they had on hand, most of which is nature based. But like the regular series it often starts with Joe covering what we can see but then he will take a detour and wax lyrically about a subject he’s fascinated or intrigued by, which is why after some initial shots of trees he’s suddenly talking about the Austin Power movies, offering up such gems as “Can you imagine if it were only Austin Powers? It’d be chaos” before confessing the distressing effect that the second film had on him when it was revealed that Elizabeth Hurley’s character was a fembot who tried to kill Austin, as it made made dating hard for Joe for a long time.
The rest of the episode is along the same lines, a sequence featuring maple syrup toast leads Joe to suggest how “Sometimes simple meals are the best” before he talks about the importance of routine, and how keeping one helps him stay away from the abyss. It’s the only part which addresses the current pandemic but it does so in a uniquely Joe Pera-esque fashion, while also offering up some great advice too.
It was supposed to initially only be a standard 11 minute episode but as Joe has footage of aquariums and fish he keeps going, chatting about them (“Don’t let your kids see, there’s more than one Dory” being the line I loved the most in this part) and then considering if fish long to be elsewhere, which then leads to Joe discussing Kafka. This is a rare occasion where he misunderstands something and considers the meaning of “Kakfa-esque” as relating to someone who changes in to an animal, and he calls the short story The Metamorphosis “The Bug”, which is a little out of character but hey, I’ll let it slide in these strange times.
Then there’s some footage of animals eating apples, with Joe believing they often eat them in the hope they’ll have fermented and so that the animals can get a little drunk, while it finishes on footage of Milwaukee (mostly, at least) while a song by a friend plays over the top of it. To be honest this second half is a little weaker than the first, even more meandering than usual, but I’m not going to complain as it’s still Joe’s wry, affecting thoughts and they’re still damn funny.
This isn’t perhaps the best introduction to the show, but then it doesn’t try to serve as such a thing, it’s just a way of Joe sharing his thoughts about life and trying to make it a little better for each and every one of us. If you’ve not watched the series I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning (a crazy thought, I know) but once you’ve watched it then rush back to this, as like the regular series it’s the perfect antidote to these distressing times.
You can watch Relaxing Old Footage With Joe Pera on youtube here.
Our review of Joe Pera Talks With You Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2.
Our review of Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree.