Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
The first post in my series on series. Let’s get the ball rolling with the Comedy List. Here we go…
The League – I don’t know anything about football or fantasy football but this show is hilarious and you don’t need to be a sports nut to enjoy the humour. First airing in 2009 on FX, the show is entering its 4th season this fall. It is rare that a comedy will hit every episode and make you laugh and The League is one of those rarities. It’s an ensemble comedy about a group of long time friends who will use any means necessary to win their fantasy football league each season and the coveted Shiva trophy. My favourite character is the clueless but cute Taco. He doesn’t know what is going at anytime (played by Canadian Jonathan Lajoie). Best episode: Mr. McGibblets, Season One, Episode 4.
Arrested Development – Aired from 2003-2006 and should not have been cancelled. Another one of the rare comedies that hits with each episode. The story centres around Michael Bluth and his highly dysfunctional family and his attempts to give his son, George Michael (a young Michael Cera) a mostly normal life. Michael takes over the family business after his father is imprisoned for embezzlement and hits one problem after another mostly because of his family. The writing is brilliant and the cast is fantastic: Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tony Hale, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat and Ron Howard as the narrator. The show was cancelled 6 years ago but Netflix will be exclusively running a new season probably next year. I have also heard rumours that a movie is in the works. Can’t wait to see this cast together again.
Veep – I’m a Canadian and I don’t really know much about American politics but this is another show where it doesn’t matter if you know about the background setting. Starring Julie Louis-Dreyfus as a former senator who is now vice president and her office staff trying to adjust to the demands and expectations of being in the White House. Another great ensemble cast including Matt Walsh, Tony Hale, Reid Scott. The first season just ended on HBO in June.
Invader Zim- A cartoon that orignally aired on Nickelodeon from 2001-2003. Created by Jhonen Vasquez who penned some very messed up comics – SQUEE! and Johnny, The Homicidal Maniac, Invader Zim is funny and totally bizarre and not just for kids. Zim is an alien sent to conquer Earth along with his robot
Gir GIR. Zim disguises himself as a human boy and Gir GIR wears a dog costume to fit in. Zim’s nemesis is a boy that he goes to school with (yes, the alien attends skool) named Dib who is convinced Zim is an alien but no one believes him. A cartoon for adults and kids.
Psychoville- Airing from 2009-2011 on BBC Two, this show is totally weird and funny in that bizarre British comedy sort of way. The show revovles around a group of odd people with various quirks who are receiving threatening letters by a serial killer and being taken out one by one. There is Mr.Jelly, not the clown you want at your child’s birthday party; a blind millionaire who collects beanie babies and his court appointed companion Tealeaf; David and his mother Maureen who have a disturbingly close relationship; a midwife with a doll that she treats as her real son; and a dwarf who believes he has telekinetic powers. This show is just…bizarre. I’m not sure if there is another series going to be released but I really hope so.
The Big C – Can cancer be funny? The Big C centres around Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) and her battle against skin cancer. For most of the first season she keeps her diagnosis and treatment a secret from her family and instead goes wild and does many things that someone who is dying with little hope of recovery, may do. Co-starring Oliver Platt as her husband, John Benjamin Hickey as her schizaphrenic (I think) brother; Gabourey Sidibe as one of her students that lives with her and Gabriel Basso as her teenage son. The show airs on Showtime, Wnetwork and Superchannel Canada. The 3rd season has just ended. While it is a comedy, it does have dramatic moments. A funny show dealing with a life altering condition. Highly recommend.
Community I debated including this one as it has gone downhill since the first season but it is a good comedy with a fantastic ensemble cast of comedians. For those who don’t know what it is about – Jeff (Joel McHale) is a lawyer forced to go back to community college to reinstate his license. He meets a group of misfits and they form a study group. Also stars Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Chevy Chase, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover. The show airs on NBC and the interrupted Season 3 ended in May. This show is hanging in the balance for the next season with only half a season slated to air.
Death Valley- Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies are roaming the streets of San Fernando Valley, California and it’s up to the Undead Task Force -UTF- to protect the streets. This is a cops style comedy with a camera crew following the UTF as they hunt, beat and kill the undead forces. Who couldn’t like a show that meshes monsters and comedy in modern day California. Unfortunately the series was cancelled after one season which is understandable as it was a hit and miss with the episodes. It aired on MTV in the fall of 2011.
South Park – Filthy mouthed, twisted, sometimes disgusting cartoons kids. Four friends in South Park, Colorado encounter all manner of bizarre and distasteful situations. I did enjoy this show for the first few seasons but over the past few years, it has become uninteresting and just not as funny as it use to be. I included it because there are definatly a lot of good episodes and the movie was pretty good too.