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

Michael & Michael Have Issues: "Biederman's Birthday"

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Tonight's rendition was a lot stronger than last week's (not to say "Greg The Intern" wasn't strong), particularly because they shaved down the tiny arguments and got right to the good stuff: the large-scale bickering between Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. The boys still broke things up with a few live segments and taped sketches—as per the show-within-a-show concept. And while I'm beginning to see this show's similarities to Flight Of The Conchords, those aforementioned segments are feeling like the songs on FOTC. They're nice and all—some kick ass—but often they feel forced and distracting.

But much like FOTC, they're kept to a minimum, and instead we see plenty of enjoyable Michael shenanigans. It's Biederman's birthday, and the Michaels decide to get him a bag of weed to calm his nerves. So they ask the staffers where to score some, and discover the park's "one big skunk store" (according to a new character, played by the awesome New York stand-up Kumail Nanjiani, formerly of Chicago). At the park, Showalter convinces Black to ask a mustachioed gentleman for the weed—by the rule of reverse psychology, clearly this man is not an undercover cop, precisely because he looks like one; and Showalter can't do it, because he has "cop face". That man, who for a second I thought was Tom Lennon, is, in fact, a cop, and Black is arrested, with Showalter watching guiltily from the side.

Aside from the mighty entertaining main drag, we did get a few asides—Showalter is Quiet Bob the weatherman, who no one on air can understand; two explanations about how it's bad to use drugs, unless you're bored, want to feel good, want to appreciate music more, etc. They're nice and all, and in the latter case, the segment commented on the action that was taking place over on side A. But I'm holding out for "Business Time," as it were.

The episode also contains two all-out angry moments: first Showalter, then Black. Showalter's comes at Biederman's party (he shows up with a coffeetable book about classic cars, from "Just Michael Showalter") after every staffer asks him what happened to Black, his story keeps changing, and he loses it. Later that night, Showalter is home with some new staffer he picked up, and Black comes to the door, face bruised badly and eyes full of madness. (In a pretty funny turn, Black forces Showalter to head back to the park in the hopes he'll be busted; then while Showalter scores the drugs, Black gets his ass whooped by some park hooligans.) These two moments accomplish what should have been done in episode one: demonstrate that the gloves are off, and things are going to get dirty. I can't wait.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

  • Another great Nanjiani line: "I stole his wish!"
  • "Go get the pot, you fat piece of shit." Actually, bleeping made this one funnier.