Something hidden -- go and find it;
Go and look beyond the Ranges
Something lost behind the ranges:
Lost and waiting for you. Go!


-- from Guy Maddin's CAREFUL


Being a periodic meditation on some of the more obscure outlying regions of cinema;
regarding movies that are inadequately publicized and hence, easily overlooked --
and by cinema, it is meant in the larger sense of films/tv/DVD/internet --
that might be worthy of your interest, but perhaps has escaped your notice.


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Friday, November 16, 2007

TIM & ERIC - AWESOME SHOW, GREAT JOB!




       An individual’s sense of humor, ya’ know, is a very personal thing. What might make one person laugh uncontrollably, might just as soon cause the next fella’ to simply stare blankly -- and the one after that to become furiously offended. I don’t think there’s any more particular, idiosyncratic component of a person’s personality than what might prompt he or she to laugh. So, it’s with considerable trepidation that I recommend the soon-to-premiere second season of Tim and Eric - Awesome Show, Great Job! -- partly because, as of yet, I’ve only seen the first season’s episodes -- but my hesitation is more likely due to the fact that, while I've found the show to be uproariously funny and entertaining, I’m quite certain I couldn’t explain why. Certainly not to you, dear reader... -- nor, I suspect, even to myself.


       Tim and Eric - Awesome Show, Great Job! is a short-format (each episode runs about 11 & 1/2 minutes) sketch comedy TV show; as such, it has no defined plot per se -- but it does have some regular characters and themes about which it revolves. Chief amongst said dramatis personae (almost all of whom are performed by Eric and Tim; sometimes interacting onscreen with themselves) are: Jan & Wayne Skylar, -- L.A.’s Only Married News Team; Steve and Mike Mahanahan -- brothers, and owner/operators of a Child Clown Outlet and a Child Clown Shoe Outlet ... respectively; and of course, Tim and Eric themselves -- who usually present themselves as dim-witted, short-sighted, corporate hucksters -- within the context of the show at least; I can’t speak for how they are in real life. The sketches themselves frequently take the form of faux “Industrials” (Corporate Instructional videos), P.S.A.s, or even Cable-Access style TV programming; ersatz commercials included. There’s usually a musical number or two in each episode, and the occasional Candid Camera style prank -- with a twist, of course; said twist usually being that the prank is as much on Tim and/or Eric as it is on the unsuspecting -- and generally very confused -- victim.


       Series creators, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, developed their comedy chops on their imaginatively entitled website; after a few failed attempts to sell a TV pilot, they caught the eye of Comedy-God, Bob Odenkirk, who exec-produced their first TV Show, the hilarious and frequently deeply unsettling Tom Goes to the Mayor. Odenkirk continues to act as a creative consultant on Awesome Show, and does voice work and the occasional bit-part as well -- speaking of which, the program has attracted its’ share of interesting and funny guest stars, including Michael Cera, David Cross, and John C. Reilly. It’s more than a little difficult to pin down the show’s appeal -- the program’s free-form structure and the deliberately half-finished (one might even say half-assed) look and feel, certainly has something to do with it. But I can’t say that it works at the level of irony; there’s really nothing ironic about it, quite frankly -- it’s more pathetic than ironic; and that, I think, is the key. The world Tim and Eric present on Awesome Show is simply more dismal and disappointing than you’d think life possibly could be -- more than you could imagine it could be, in fact. And when they present that in the right way (or maybe the wrong way, given the premise of the show), I just can’t help but laugh.


       Tim and Eric - Awesome Show, Great Job! airs as part of Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] line-up; the second season premiere is this Sunday, Nov. 18th, at 12:15 AM, EST (9:15 PM, PST) -- but it’s available for viewing online starting today, at 6:00 PM, here. Now, here’s where I’d ordinarily write a sort of funny, punny, closing line. But not this week.

Pathetic...

Some links:

The Tim and Eric - Awesome Show, Great Job! tease web-page.

A clip from season 1: Sports!.

A clip from season 1: Pizza Guy.

A clip from season 1: Lazy Horse Mattress & Bedding.


Next post -- 11/23/07