As anyone who has spent a ridiculous amount of hours every month randomly flipping through youtube videos will know, there’s a lot of attempts at comedy out there but oh dear jesus most of them are painfully weak. Thankfully “I Adore Dolores” is one of the few that doesn’t apply to, a GoFundMe funded pilot that only cost $10,000 and yet looks like a pretty damn expensive affair. Pleasingly it isn’t a case of it looking lovely but lacking in substance either as it’s a deranged delight, and the kind of comedy that could air on a normal tv channel without anyone suspecting it wasn’t made by a professional company.
Well, I say a normal tv channel, to be honest the majority probably wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole as it’s such an unusual creation, but it would be right at home on Adult Swim, TruTv or Channel 4 in the UK, at least the Channel 4 of the 80’s and 90’s back when they still created innovative comedy. Because this really is an inspired piece of work, packed full of demented ideas yet also very funny lines and jokes, and it even finds the time to be surprisingly sweet on occasion, meaning it has a warm heart rather than the completely cynical soul found in too many offbeat comedies.
That warmness comes largely from its main character, the titular Dolores (co-creator Jo Roueiheb), who we learn married a certain fast food clown called Rormald McDormald (Bart Gregotowicz) who of course completely unlike his McDonald’s lookalike is a complete bastard, and one who soon divorces Dolores. Briefly a step-mum to Dorma McDormald (acclaimed voice over artist Sarah Natochenny), who just like her Dad is never not in clown make up, after the marriage ends Dolores misses her and when she learns that Dorma has been arrested and placed under house arrest she buys the building she lives in and becomes Dorma’s new landlord.
A sort of odd couple scenario then plays out, except that these two are fairly normal compared to everyone else in their lives, and even though Dorma initially resists Dolores attempts at friendship it looks like by the end she might have been won round, slightly at least, though that could be just because she requires Dolores help in burying a dead body. That all takes place at the end however, and before it does the pilot serves up a fantastic selection of comedy oddness that made me laugh a great deal.
Once Dolores has made her intentions clear Dorma isn’t fully onboard, even though there’s some very funny flashbacks to her youth which prove that Dolores was a great mother figure. Life’s also not that simple for Dolores who then starts to have concerns about how she might not be up to being a good landlady, which leads to a full blown musical number from the building’s tenants, and what a number it is too, full of bizarre yet still hilarious confessions from the cast and which ends with the introduction of Mary Feaney, an Irish ghost haunting the apartment.
All of that might sound insane and yes, yes it is, but it’s gloriously the case. I didn’t even mention above how two of the tenants are puppets either, and they’re extremely amusing creations at that, but it’s the introduction of the rather creepy and definitely crazy Mary Feaney which is the funniest moment, as we learn she’s the original “Landlassie” who is now haunting the building. This at least comes as an enormous relief to Dorma who presumed she was hearing voices and going mad, but it then serves to complicate their lives further.
Still, Mary Feaney does promise to go away if Dorma and Dolores can solve her riddles, all of which seem to relate to Dolores needing to clean up the place. Except that Dolores completely misunderstands them, and the solution is far more disturbing and involves Salesmanbaby, a mute part man, part baby all sales person who has visited the apartment to sell some gardening equipment in an abrupt and quite rude manner.
Created by Sam Marine, Jo Roueiheb, Emily WIlson, as you’ll have gathered from the above this is really is bizarre and then some, but it never forgets to provide the laughs too, and it’s far, far better than Beef House, Tim and Eric’s recent parody of mainstream sitcoms. The characters are crazy but almost always likeable (the jury’s still out on the rather unhinged Mary Feaney) and though we only get to meet a few of the other tenants even their short appearances suggest there’d be a lot of scope in exploring their lives in potential future installments.
I Adore Dolores premiered at various festivals throughout 2019, deservedly winning the “Most Outrageous” award at the Orlando Film Festival, but it has only recently appeared online on youtube. I just hope that doesn’t prevent it from being picked up by a tv channel in the future however as it’s exquisitely funny, the cast are all superb, and it contains an impressive mix of different styles of humour, all of which makes it a one of a kind comedy that I’d love to watch new episodes of each and every week.
You can watch I Adore Dolores on youtube here.