Jon is always the center of the action on Delocated, but “Camping” takes a risk and focuses about half of the episode on Todd Barry, a character who’s really just a heightened version of the real-life comedian, and has only appeared in a small handful of episodes before this one. And given Delocated’s stellar streak and ability to play up all sorts of silliness, it comes as no surprise that the show pulls it off.
“Camping” reminds me of that scene in the pilot where Jon runs into Paul Rudd at a clothing store, and Rudd is shot by Yvgeny; as he dies, Jon rattles off all the films Rudd starred in, lamenting the loss of such a gifted actor. The list becomes increasingly large, and soon the joke becomes just how many obscure films Jon and his bodyguard Mike can name, each one sending Jon into hysterics. Even though the world of Delocated is one in which Jon is a reality-TV star (so… it’s fake), there are still real-world aspects that come through every once in a while. In “Camping,” the joke of the Todd Barry material isn’t so much that Barry says anything particularly funny or noteworthy—not that he’s unfunny—it’s that the show treats him like he’s the biggest celebrity on the planet, and Barry acts like his self-aggrandizing self. In one scene, an Asian prostitute cries while watching Barry’s DVD of observational comedy, having learned his touring life isn’t what’s keeping him from using her services—it’s that he married a different prostitute.
Delocated doesn’t have to heighten its world too much to get its comedic point across. I don’t know the nature of the real Barry’s visits to foreign hookers, but that seems to be the only thing comically altered. Barry’s still Barry, speaking the way he normally does, and reacting to his own sodomy and the breakdown of his marriage with the same deadpan shrug he gives everything else. Jon Glaser has assembled gifted ensemble, and doesn’t have to change much about who they are to make the show funny. After all, the joke largely becomes just how lazy Glaser about not really changing much. Yvgeny Mirminsky is still Eugene Mirman, and his vodka jokes, particularly the ones tonight, are still abysmal.
Also, I presume that one of the jokes about TB is that Ali Farahnakian doesn’t really come across as much of a badass, yet his character is presumably this tough-as-nails Navy SEAL-type who will do anything to protect Jon, even if it means calling in the full force of the United States military. In “Camping,” Jon decides to take David out into the wilderness and make him a man—which in the Delocated sense means forcing David to wear a wig unless he survives a night in the woods alone. With David gone, Jon and TB are settling in for a night of bro-ing out when Jon accidentally sprains his ankle. Because he’s the kind of guy who makes a huge deal out of everything, he demands TB go find the ranger’s station and get help. TB sets off, leaving the camera crew behind with Jon (thus marking one of the only times the camera crew itself has been acknowledged directly in the run of Delocated, which this continues throughout the episode). Before TB can return, Jon is discovered by two reclusive folks with guns, and taken to their shack. TB comes back and Jon is missing.
The stakes could not be higher. Jon is tied to a chair and forced to recite copy off of cue cards detailing the eccentric beliefs of these backwoods folks, and when he’s done he’s going to be killed. TB makes his way to the cabin, and when they’re discovered, the husband and wife take suicide pills and force one down Jon’s throat. This is TB’s moment to shine. He howls and charges awkwardly at the cabin, taking the longest path he can possibly take, bursting in to discover Jon under the covers with the couple. Those pills, it turns out, are ecstasy tablets, and Jon is heavily in the bone zone. Only a show like Delocated, which doesn’t take itself too seriously, could get away with deflating the stakes of a scene in such a cursory way. But of course, that’s what makes it so funny, too.
- Todd Barry gets a few good lines in the episode when he’s not just letting things happen around him. On saying he wants to marry a prostitute: “That’s just a cute thing I say before I blow my load.”
- I liked the priest’s new vows: “I now pronounce you whore and Todd.” Everyone on this show just goes with whatever happens.
- Lots of abbreviations in this episode. Keep ’em coming!