Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season One

Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season One

B+

Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season One

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Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job feels less like conventional sketch comedy than a series-length illustration of Michael O'Donoghue's famous quip about making people laugh being the lowest form of comedy. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's mind-bending pop-art provocation contains its share of yuks, but it's less interested in earning chuckles than in annoying, offending, and confusing viewers. Like much of Adult Swim's proudly provocative output—the duo also created Tom Goes To The Mayor—it seemingly can't be judged a success unless a good portion of the populace hates it with a ferocity normally reserved for child molesters and Nazi war criminals.

Though any description is bound to come off as reductive, Awesome Show is largely an extended riff on the half-assed surrealism and excruciating awfulness of public access television, that unwatched wasteland of cheap stylistic tricks, amateur performers, and incompetence pushed to comic/horrifying extremes. Heidecker and Wareheim play many of the characters themselves, often hidden under layers of ugly make-up and thrift shop outfits, but ringers from both the comedy world (Zach Galifianakis, David Cross, Paul Reubens) and the realm of genuine, unironic public-access weirdness (ventriloquist David Liebe Hart) join them throughout.

The trippy, free-associative humor of Awesome is surreal, Dadaistic, gleefully absurd, and many other pretentious adjectives critics use to indicate that a comedy is into some seriously weird, fucked-up shit. Over the course of the first season's ten episodes, the show moves steadily from funny-ha-ha to funny-strange, but just when it seems to be sinking into fatal self-indulgence, Heidecker and Wareheim double back into the land of funny. Though it isn't always apparent, there is a method to the duo's madness, even if that means structuring an entire show around the little-known profession of gravy robbery and people turning into cats. Thanks largely to the participation of Bob Odenkirk as creative consultant and a regular performer—most notably in a series of fake commercials for bizarre products like B'owl (a bat/owl monstrosity) and B'ougar (a creature with the body of a bear and the nightmare-inducing cry of a cougar), Awesome feels like Mr. Show 2.0. The comedy hasn't evolved, necessarily, but it has gotten a whole lot stranger.

Key features: The usual grab bag of special features, including commentaries on every episode and intermittently funny deleted scenes.

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