By John Thomas
The Pete Holmes Show:
So, I sat down on Monday at midnight to watch “The Pete Holmes Show” with a sort of unbridled enthusiasm that I hadn’t had for at least a couple of hours, and promptly fell asleep as the show began. I was very sick and very tired –it had nothing to do with the content of the show – but the fact that it was Pete Holmes’ show made me feel like I had just slept through a fishing trip with my father when I woke up. Let that serve as an implicit – well I guess now it’s sort of explicit since I’m talking about it – disclaimer for the praise I’m about to heap on Pete Holmes, whose show I did watch in full the next day on the web.
First and foremost, the show was funny. Each segment hit me pretty well, even his monologue, although it was a little recycled. It’s a wonderful feeling to see an artist, or really anyone, truly enjoy their work without even a tad of hesitation as Holmes evidently does. That miracle doesn’t happen without encouragement. If the material wasn’t great, if the writers weren’t there or if his friends and mentors didn’t like the feel of it, Pete wouldn’t have been able to act in such a way. I think that’s important to note, because I think that such enthusiasm is sometimes assumed to be a mask for a subpar product and that is not the case here.
I think the main criticism I have of the show is that by far the best bit of the night, a sketch entitled “Ex-Men” that stars Holmes as Professor X firing Wolverine from his team, was released prior to the premiere. That was so disappointing to me. It’s not that I’m against a program putting their bits online, but it comes off as kind of lazy to me; it's like they’re already reusing material for the very first sketch the show ever aired. I can, however, understand their reasoning as “Ex-Men” is such a fantastic sketch that it’s logical they would want to put it out there in advance. I think it’s worked. Just about everyone I know who likes comedy had seen the bit before the show aired.
2 Broke Girls:
“2 Broke Girls” is my Nickelback. The show premiered when I was a junior in high school as I was beginning to really get into television criticism and fandom on the web. My favorite such blog, "TV Hangover," blasted “2 Broke Girls” ceaselessly, and lampooning it became a regular part of my vernacular. Instead of calling someone a nasty name or something like that under my breath, I would whisper something like, “You ‘2 Broke Girls’-watching piece of trash,” under my breath. Alright, so I guess I called them names too, but it was coupled with a criticism of their television watching habits.
That being said – and this is something I’m not proud of – I never actually watched an episode of “2 Broke Girls” until a couple of nights ago. Now this doesn’t excuse my actions, but as it turns out my previously unconfirmed vitriol directed at the program turns out to be totally warranted now that I’ve actually seen it. Man, oh man, it’s so unapologetically bigoted. I say that because the characters will just say stereotypes – not intended to be jokes that hinge on a stereotype, nor jokes that make fun of a stereotype – just the stereotype itself expected to stand alone as a joke.
The worst part of all of this is that I’m sure the writers are a talented bunch of comics. On podcasts and the like, I’ve only heard good things about the people who work on the show, especially its co-creator Whitney Cummings. Thus, I’m obliged to assume that they aren’t bigots in their everyday life. That being said, they should still feel bad for parading this tripe in public. I mean, I know a few comics who are great people but just rely on stereotypes and such in their stand-up, writing off any criticism as being politically correct or not getting the joke. That’s ridiculous though, because through that frame of logic any joke would be funny as long as the person who told the joke thought so. The sad part is here: I have a hard time believing that anyone on this show really thought this episode was funny to begin with.