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

Kroll Show, "Finger Magnets"

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This was… a strange one. No two ways around that. Kroll Show has been on such an incredible run, it had to have an off week sometime. But I wouldn’t say that this was an outright bad episode, it just made me laugh out loud less and lacked the completely seamless feel that so many of its episodes can have. It also featured two new characters who were introduced with barely any explanation and another who made perfect sense to me but maybe flew over the head of some younger viewers. I appreciate the audacity, though—Kroll and his writers aren’t just content to have PubLizIty and the Rich Dicks run around for 22 minutes being assholes.

Still, there’s a good amount of that, too. PubLizIty has discovered the brilliant recurring gag that Big Liz NEVER remembers that Little Liz is pregnant. Her horrified reaction at inopportune moments throughout the episode was one of the biggest laughs of the episode. PubLizIty accomplishes even less than normal this week because their put-upon assistant Cassandra leaves them for her own reality show (more on that in a second) and replaces herself with a lazy, incompetent but chipper gay guy (the incomparably funny Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate’s comedy partner and a writer on the show) who the girls just adore. They forgive his transgressions and scream at Cassandra like they always do when she returns. Poor Cassandra!

Especially since her new reality show is called “Fat Dad, Dirty House: The Curse of Cassandra.” This, I suppose, is a spoof of all those awful shows about people with insane medical issues or inhumanly unhealthy proportions. I really liked a lot of things about this sketch, particularly the character Kroll cooked up for Fat Dad, a man convinced of his own genius but ashamed of his size. I just wish we could have gotten a little more backstory/time with that character. Kroll Show always tries to fit a lot in, and considering how much time was needed for Rich Dicks and Larry Bird this week, there just wasn’t enough time for Fat Dad. Maybe he’ll make another appearance this season.

I think The Legend Of Larry Bird is something Kroll has been looking to fit in since the first season. I remember his image going out on some promo card I got last year (although I know the weird shooting schedule of this show means they were deep in season 2 when season one premiered). Look, the point is, I’ve been waiting a long time for The Legend Of Larry Bird, and this sure didn’t disappoint. Will non-basketball fans give a shit about this sketch? I’m not sure. Will basketball fans born after 1992 give a shit? I don’t like to think about them anyway. The point is, fundamentals. This sketch nailed the fundamentals. Larry Bird is a heartland warrior with an upper lip of steel, and they even worked his relationship with Magic into there. Let’s have this be a whole long boring spinoff, please.

Finally, we have Rich Dicks. Again, credit to Kroll for not resting on the easy gags with these characters. In the first season, they created the kind of drug-induced chaos you might expect from them. In the second season, they have had parties wearing the costumes from 1990’s Dick Tracy and now try to bring down Wendell’s dad’s bank as revenge for being cut off through an Anonymous-style organization led by Brett Gelman. That’s a lot to squeeze into a few minutes, and so it comes off very messy, but Gelman and Ray Wise (as Wendell’s dad) were worthy guest appearances (and Kroll’s monologue about Ray Wise was something I want to see him polish up and do onstage sometime. Love me some Ray Wise jokes).

Just less big laughs this time around. But I recognize ambition and I respect the crazy avenues this show has gone down this year so far.


Stray observations:

  • Oh, the San Diego Mindset. I…just don’t know what to make of that character. I feel like it’s spoofing an LA thing I don’t really understand.
  • “Getting out cash is my least favorite kind of drug deals.”
  • “So now you know the value of a dollar, huh?” “Yeah, it’s like half a euro, right?”
  • “Make no mistake, Magic Johnson. I will fucking end you.”
  • “That pool volleyball is for worms and plebeians.”
  • “Is it just me or is all this father-son stuff chubbing you out?”