Paul Feig, who created Other Space, was recently on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, where he talked about his upcoming projects including Ghostbusters, a Peanuts project, and, most importantly for our purposes, Other Space. On the podcast, Feig talked about why sci fi often shied away from humor. The guys who loved it took it too seriously to make jokes, while the guys who parodied it (Mel Brooks with Spaceballs, for instance) did so by mocking, not coming from a place of general affinity. It’s part of the reason, Feig said, he liked Star Wars so much: There was a general sense of humor running throughout it. Other Space so clearly comes from a place of love for the genre that it exists in. Listening to Feig say it made so much sense. The core of Other Space is this warm glow of love, for its characters, for the genre, and that’s what makes it so watchable. (PSA: If you listen to the podcast, stay for the Combat Jack interview, it’s also good.)
The plot of “Getting To You Know” is not foreign to those who have watched shows of Other Space’s ilk. There’s an outlier in the mix, and the ensemble has to figure out who is telling the truth and who is lying about their identities. It was always going to be Chad — I mean, like, he’s so cool. But the inciting action also allowed for two things to emerge in “Getting To Know You.”
“Getting To Know You” really is the perfect name for Other Space’s second episode because their quest to root out the ship’s alien lifeform gave each character a chance to reintroduce themselves. Structurally, it worked because, as an audience, we’re literally still getting to know these characters. It certainly doesn’t hurt the catalyst so seamlessly allowed for this reintroduction. Kent and Tina, in particular, benefit from the extra screen time. Kent was a bit of an enigma before, but his odd backstory was strangely endearing. We’ll get back to Ken later, because “Getting To Know You” was really Tina’s episode. Milana Vayntrub’s facial expressions during her montage of gifts alone were excellent, but Vayntrub also brings an archness beyond the airhead Tina is written to be to her line readings (“What if [Ted] could hear you right now?” “Oh my god, I would say the filthiest shit”). Vayntrub gets me the most excited about upcoming episodes. (Michael, on the other hand, is not connecting for me as a character yet, this simpering third in command in desperate need of affection just isn’t pulling his weight as much as the other ensemble, although Eugene Cordero has not had as much to work with as the others.)
So let’s get back to Kent. We learned a lot about Kent, namely that he’s been in a comatose state for most of his life because he was born as an organ farm for his brother. I was iffy about Kent at first, but I enjoyed his vulnerability in “Getting To Know You,” which sounds funny to say because his vulnerability involved revealing that he has gills and can identify Matthew McConaughey quotes from all eras. But Kent was also a window into how weirdly surreal Other Space is and can be. The scene where it is revealed that Kent’s greatest desire is to sensually kiss his own mother is more more the norm than the exception. Other Space can do things that other, safer network can’t and won’t do. That works better than others sometimes—the McConaughey-themed punchline was funny at first, but joke ran out of steam quickly—but it also means Other Space gets to try new things, really go for it where others can’t. That may not be a universally successful trait, but it’s certainly something to keep watching for.
- So it has just occurred to me that Milana Vayntrub is the saleslady, apparently named Lily, from the ubiquitous AT&T ads. Good on her for showing her stuff in a new atmosphere.
- In reference to Tina’s quote. I do think it’s strange that Yahoo Screens bleeped “shit.” Clearly, the internet is not held to the same standards as network television. It’s an interesting choice for Yahoo Screens to make, to not give their shows the leeway to curse. It allows them to reach a broader audience, but it’s jarring to find something so PG on a medium where you can literally find any type of pornography you want with the right search terms.
- They keep teasing me with Mo Collins as Kent’s mom and it’s KILLING ME. GIVE ME MY MO COLLINS.
- Dave Franco’s evil face!
- “Breast implants: Nature’s trump card.”