Delocated - "Coma"

In its gradual transformation from "catchall title for stoner cartoons that air after decent people have gone to bed" to "branded mini-network for avant-garde comedy," Cartoon Network's [adult swim] has been forced out of its comfort zone quite a bit.  With the advent of live-action, non-animated programming come much greater costs, necessitating bigger ad budgets and promotions to justify the expense and capture better ratings, and to convince the public that this is a "real" network, a number of shows have either debuted in or transferred to a standard half-hour format from the network's old 15-minute norm.  The entire process has yielded mixed results, generally falling on the positive side of the fence; the half-hour format, too, has been hit and miss.  While I'm unconvinced that it's been an overall plus for Metalocalypse, a show that's built for the 15-minute format and seems to me to have done an awful lot of padding to reach the new length, Jon Glaser's witness-protection/reality-show mockumentary, Delocated, has absolutely thrived under it.

After a sporadically hilarious but somewhat inconsistent first season, Delocated really came into its own with a second-season switch to the half-hour format.  Making more of its excellent cast (and some terrific season 2 pickups in Jerry Minor and Mather Zickel) and letting its absurd, anything-goes sensibility expand along with the timeframe, the show improved enormously, really hitting its stride with the astounding Face/Off parody of "Mole."  It's all been gravy after that, and my only complaint is that it's on so late at night, although that's probably a necessity; while it's in its wheelhouse with late-night viewers, its extremely off-kilter sensibilities probably wouldn't fare so well with a primetime audience if it were moved up.  Hitting the airwaves as late night turns into early morning, it hasn't quite generated the interest for us to justify regular coverage here at TV Club, but it's turned into an excellent show, and enough of you have asked for it that we at least wanted to cover tonight's season finale.

In tonight's episode, a typically pissy Jon—and his incredible pettiness is always funnier through the medium of a vocal distorter—can't even enjoy his new homemade seltzer maker because he's jumped to the conclusion that Kim is getting back together with her ex-husband.  Meanwhile, Sergei is worried about his reputation, since his inability to murder Jon makes him look like a pussy.  Enter Mighty Joe Jon, the Black Blond (Minor, in rare form), who sows dissent in both Jon and Sergei in hopes of ending the low-rated show with a flaming motorcycle jump.  Unfortunately, while practicing the jump (and forestalling his engagement to Kim), Jon falls into a coma, and fearing a ratings dip with his leading man unable to move, speak, or act, Joe Jon decides to pull a sweeps-week-style stunt by inviting viewers to come on the show and try to rouse him out of it.

This one had a few rough moments—the engagement scene oversold its joke quite a bit—but overall, it was a terrific installment of a much-improved season, complete with an exciting and genuinely unpredictable twist ending.  (And we don't mean Eugene Mirman's latest vodka joke.)  The show is doing a great job of making the most out of its cast—Steve Cirbus as Sergei, in particular, has turned out to be an actor of surprising depth—while still keeping the ridiculous tone and the ability to pull jokes out of every angle of the story.  The network made the right decision in giving this one the space and time to grow, and it's paid off.  The next season can't come soon enough.

Stray Observations:

  • "Who's got a big idea?  What are we gonna do?  Shoot him?"
  • "Hey!  You got a seltzer machine!  Ha ha ha!  It sounds like farts!"
  • Jon's idea of holding on to Kim:  presenting her with a garish pink plastic "Next Level" ring.
  • "See, that's a mistake that a lot of couples make, and that's why the divorce rate is so high."
  • I can't get enough of Sergei and Yvgeny speaking Russian.  Like having your leading man constantly wearing a balaclava, it's just inherently funny to hear people telling hot fudge sundae jokes in Russian.
  • "When in Come.  You know, like when in Rome, but with a coma?  When in Com-a?  You I'm sorry.  It's a joke I've been trying.  I should just stop saying it."
  • "See you at the Emmys, sweepy-head!"
  • Favorite attempt to wake Jon up:  unexplained group of Korean men loudly arguing with each other.
  • "I got thin-cut right here, man!  Deli-thin!"
  • "Augh!  Twist!"
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