Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: "Health"

Illustration for article titled Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: "Health"

Four down, two to go. So far on Dr. Steve Brule’s six-episode show, we’ve learned about his accidental romance with his cousin, his undying but unspoken lust for Jan Skylar, and his perhaps serial-killing mom. After all those heartbreaks, it makes sense that tonight’s episode—in theme, anyway—is a bit more positive: a look at how to have a healthy face, body, and spirit. Obviously, Brule has none of these, but that shouldn’t stop him from being an authority and reporting on all of them while peppering in the word “dingus” whenever possible.

Brule turns to a scientist or some sort of official from the United States Department of Beauty played by a characteristically perky but impatient Maria Bamford—the sort of character she weaves into her stand-up sets. Brule is positively smitten with her, despite her many shrieks that she isn’t interested in him or his oily face or his potato-chip breath. Instead, she helps him determined whether the doctor is handsome or ugly using a very sophisticated computer program. As it turns out, Brule is ugly. The good news? He gets a makeover, and when he spins around in his chair for the big reveal, he’s grinning ear to ear with caps on his teeth, blush on his cheeks, and a confounding part arbitrarily on the side of his head. When Brule asks Bamford’s character how he rates on a scale of 1 to 10, she clocks him in at around a 3. Not that any of this seems to hurt Brule’s feelings—he’s still convinced that the computer is actually an Easter egg basket filled with chocolate eggs. And that she’ll go out with him. While it’s all pretty silly, one of the funniest things about this sequence is at the very top, when Brule just blindly introduces her from the teleprompter. The sequence of words is English, but it sounds completely foreign when read aloud. Also, Brule’s childish grin afterwards must in the teleprompter as “smile, dummy!,” so he knows when to stop reading.

Then it’s off to interviews with more presumably “normal” people, starting with high-school quarterback Jeffrey Krang. Not that Borat has a monopoly on making apparently homophobic kids uncomfortable, but when Krang’s letterman jacket catches Brule’s eye, he insists the kid get up and do a fashion show for him: “You look like a bumblebee!” Brule admits he knows nothing at all about football, so he just invites Krang to sit on his lap to talk before challenging him to a foot race out on the sports field. I guess he wants to best Krang in a feat of athletic strengths, because he just chases the poor kid around, trying to trip him before finally collapsing, unable to catch his breath. Krang kinda has it coming to him though, because he mocks Brule for having never drank a kegger—or “kraiger” as Brule recalls. Not that he ever drank in high school. Brule just sadly remembers getting the bill for one and not being able to drink it. All these years out of high school, and Dr. Steve Brule’s still getting picked on by high schoolers.

There’s really no explanation, though, for when Brule keeps picking on the “hunk” in his exercise segment, “Aerobics Workout With Dr. Steve Brule.” It was similar to his self-defense segment on Awesome Show!, but somehow I just think this entire part was completely improvised. No offense to the people in this segment, but the weirdly proportioned people seeking workout instruction from Dr. Steve Brule have no business being on TV. None of them say anything, but the fact that these are the kinds of people that seek Brule’s help serves as nice background music to Brule parading around in a Christmas-tree green spandex suit (with extra rolls of fake fat added underneath) and imploring his students to “be like a tin soldier!” and to get off their duffs.

Then, the episode just kinda ends. Really. Brule unapologetically asks his friend Denny how much time is left, and wonders aloud why every episode has to be the same length. About 40 seconds is spent bickering on how Check It Out! can be a little shorter if they want it to be. A funny gag, to be sure, but this episode felt awfully light—popular as Bamford is, she’s a familiar face to the Awesome Show universe—and not in a meta-funny way. Last week’s episode might be my favorite so to date, but I’ve heard that the next episode focusing on Dr. Steve Brule’s fears is supposed to be the best of the whole series. We’ve started to see Brule get calmer and calmer as an anchor in Check It Out!. So much so, that his frantic and wild-eyed turns guesting on Awesome Show seem like a distant memory. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Brule get wound up and freaked out. It’s been too long for my health.

Stray observations:

“Why doesn’t my body do the things that I want?”

“Expect to feel several bone tremors, and to be perceived by all around you to be a disgrace.”


“How to keep your health and not get it snatched away by obesity.”

“Footballs aren’t even shaped like a ball. They’re shaped like an egg with stitches.”


“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sports are hard.”

“The ancient Greeks invented sports for the Olympics so you could touch your body.”