by Julian Spivey
I saw a review of TBS’ new comedy “Angie Tribeca” last week that basically said, “You’re either going to love this show or hate it.”
After catching the bulk of the first season thanks to TBS uniquely marathoning it on Sunday, Jan. 17 by showing all 10 episodes on repeat for 25 straight hours, I can say I don’t necessarily agree with that statement, but can see how many would.
“Angie Tribeca,” from the minds of Steve and Nancy Carell, is bringing the comedic art-form of parody back to television a la “Airplane” and the ‘Naked Gun’ movies, with a bit of Mel Brooks’ ‘60s sitcom “Get Smart” thrown in for measure.
I understand the “you’re going to love it or hate” review, because most people are either going to enjoy the joke-a-second, sight gags – many of them rather obvious if you think about them for a second – while others are going to find the show one of the dumbest things they’ve ever seen. It really comes down to the fact of whether or not you like this particular style of humor.
After watching much of the first season, though, I don’t find myself loving or hating the show, but mostly indifferent to it.
It’s not the dumbest thing on television, as many have said on social media (note the overall critics consensus is actually pretty high on the show). It’s just that those people aren’t fans of the show’s style of comedy and that’s perfectly fine. But, as someone who enjoyed the lunacy of “Airplane” I can tell you some of the gags are actually pretty great and can occasionally induce laugh out loud moments.
But, like with anything that’s reliant on parody, particularly a high amount of sight gags, some of the moments are going to prove to be eye-rollingly annoying, as well. One moment I tired of quickly was the rookie police officer who vomits at every crime scene.
The performances from leads Rashida Jones as the title character and Hayes MacArthur as her partner Jay Geils (yes, almost all of the character names are jokes in themselves like everything else about this show) are solid, but my favorite performance comes from Jere Burns as Chet Atkins, the commander of the LAPD’s Really Heinous Crimes Unit, as Burns really plays up the part of a hard-nosed precinct captain to perfection. In a show that completely lampoons crime show dramas, his performance rings the truest.
The aspect of “Angie Tribeca” that I hate the most is the casting of Deon Cole in the supporting role of Det. DJ Tanner. I must point out that this has nothing to do with the actual show, though. Cole is supremely hilarious and I feel his talents are being wasted here. Cole was bust-a-gut hilarious in his supporting role as Charlie through the first season-and-a-half of the ABC sitcom “black-ish” and left the show at midseason this year to appear in “Angie Tribeca.” Essentially he left a better character and show for a seemingly lesser role on an inferior show.
Ultimately, “Angie Tribeca” is a harmless watch that should give you a few laughs per episode, unless you’re just absolutely annoyed by the parody genre.
Long Before His Oscar Nomination, Adam McKay Made An Absurd Short Film About Seducing Glenn Frey
by Julian Spivey
I’m not sure if this is a great way to remember the late, great Glenn Frey, founding member of the Eagles – it’s certainly not as great as listening to his terrific music, which I’ve done a lot since the news of his death on Monday, Jan. 18 – but I can’t help but remember and laugh about an old “Saturday Night Live” short film that at least somewhat poked fun at Frey.
Adam McKay is having the best time of his career right now as the Oscar-nominated director and co-screenwriter of “The Big Short” – a nominee for Best Picture, but it wasn’t all that long ago when he was just a staff writer (and head writer for two seasons) for “Saturday Night Live.”
In fact, ‘SNL’ is where McKay developed a comedic partnership and friendship with Will Ferrell (arguably the greatest cast member in ‘SNL’ history), which has gone from ‘SNL’ sketches and partnering in the online comedy website Funny or Die to box office hit feature films like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys.” In fact, until “The Big Short” (which is brilliant and I highly recommend) McKay had not directed a movie in which his friend Ferrell didn’t star in.
The very first film venture that McKay and Ferrell worked on – long before McKay would become nominated for an Academy Award and before Ferrell became one of the biggest comedic box office stars – was “The H is O” – which appeared on ‘SNL’ on Feb. 5, 2000 in an episode hosted by Alan Cumming. McKay’s digital short would appear on the show about five years before Andy Samberg would join the cast and make the format world famous.
The gist of the short film is three men, played by Ben Stiller, Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz, are at a bar and Stiller’s character claims he can get any woman in bed in a certain number of lines, with Fallon and Sanz quizzing him on how many lines it would take for certain women.
Then Glenn Frye (played in arrogant bliss by Will Ferrell) comes stumbling into the establishment. Stiller’s character is enamored by Frye – an obvious hero of his – before Sanz’s character asks, “How many lines to get him into bed?”
Stiller’s character claims he can get Frye into bed in three lines or less and the fun – or rather the heat – is on from there.
When Stiller’s character first walks up to Frye he’s greeted by the supremely arrogant: “Hey, I’m Glenn Frey. And, guess what? The H is O [the heat is on].” Stiller begins his pick-up lines: “I always thought you were better than [fellow Eagles member] Joe Walsh,” “You were so good on ‘Miami Vice.’ Why don’t you act more” and then finally, simply “I want to be with you.”
What happens next has always been impossible to un-see.
“The H is O” isn’t one of the funniest digital shorts you’re ever going to see. It’s not laugh out loud funny. In fact, It’s highly absurd and quite ridiculous – which makes you wonder what goes through the head of McKay. How does one think up a man trying to seduce Glenn Frye in a bar? But, the performances by Stiller and Ferrell and the sheer lunacy of the bit – especially Ferrell as Frye using “The H is O” as a catchphrase – really have the bit ingrained in my head more than 15 years after originally seeing it. I will occasionally use “The H is O” in conversation because of this, despite the fact that nobody knows what the hell I’m talking about.
The reason why it might not be the most fitting tribute to Frye is it plays on some of the thoughts about him, that may or may not be true, in that he was an overly-arrogant rock star who took his life and career too seriously. I’m not sure if Frye ever even knew about this short film, but if he did and didn’t sue the hell out of McKay for making it and producer Lorne Michaels for airing it on ‘SNL’ it shows he did have a sense of humor to him.
On second thought, I don’t recommend “The H is O” as a mean’s of paying respect and tribute to Frye – listen to his wonderful music for that – but it does kind of show you how big of a figure he was, and might give you something to laugh about in a time of mourning.
You can watch the short film: HERE