May 29 2015

The Comedians – “Charity” Review. Free Planet Earth.

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Season 1, Episode 8

Air Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015, 10:00 PM ET/PT on FX

Rating:

“I love Earth too. I’m very pro it.” – Josh

Doing it for planet Earth.

Doing it for planet Earth.

Following a discussion with a coffee shop barista (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Josh (Josh Gad) is inspired to use his celebrity status to do more charity work. He enlists the help of Billy (Billy Crystal), who believes Josh has ulterior motives. “You want to bang this girl, don’t you?”

One of the interesting things about The Comedians is how the writers peel back the curtain, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the actors’ lives. Because Billy and Josh are playing fictional versions of themselves, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction.

The self-deprecating humor created by Billy and Josh throughout the season is entertaining when done right. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in “Charity” as the funny moments are just plain awkward. Crystal and Gad try too hard to poke fun at themselves  and miss the mark, creating only sporadic laughs along the way. In several moments during “Charity,” Billy and Josh are shown in an unflattering way, and as a fan of the actors, it’s uneasy to watch.

The scenes between Josh and the barista are amusing as Josh tries to hit on her. While she isn’t interested in Josh romantically, she does have her own agenda that has her flirting with him. This only makes matters worse for Josh. It’s amusing to watch the two using each other, but because both have selfish motives, you never feel the chemistry you would expect from a scene where one person tries to seduce the other. It never makes the audience care about what happens to either of them.

Billy saves the day.

Billy saves the day.

The Comedians has perfected the art of allowing a single expression to be the punchline instead of relying on words or complicated plot points. “Charity” is no exception as Josh finally realizes what a mess his infatuation with the barista has gotten him into. When the camera cuts to Billy, I couldn’t help laughing at his reaction.

I’ve been vocal about my disappointment in The Billy and Josh Show skits. I braced myself to go negative again as the first two segments of the routine barely enlist a chuckle. Imagine my surprise when the third part not only ties the other two together but makes for an entertaining bit overall. I enjoyed the way the writers break up the setup, holding the punchline until the end of “Charity.” This is the quality of humor I’ve been longing for and commend everyone involved because they hit a home run with this episode.

THE COMEDIANS -- "Charity" Episode 108 (Airs Thursday, May 28, 10:00 pm e/p) -- Pictured: (l-r) Hugh Dane as the Homeless Man, Billy Crystal as Billy. CR: Byron Cohen/FX.

I loved this scene.

Given my background, I’m sensitive to how Hollywood portrays those less fortunate, which often results in the use of a single stereotype. I applaud the writers for creating a funny, smart, and articulate homeless character who, despite his circumstances, shows real kindness to Billy. Hugh Dane does a wonderful job of bringing the unnamed homeless character to life with dignity. I appreciate the writers finding ways to incorporate him into several scenes instead of being just a quick bit. I could watch an entire episode of Billy and the homeless guy sitting around talking because of how well their scenes are written and portrayed.

While “Charity” is one of The Comedians’ weaker episodes, it still has its moments. When you have only 13 episodes in a season as opposed to the traditional 22, there isn’t as much time for character development. The Comedians is aided by using fictionalized versions of Crystal and Gad because the audience already has some preconceived notions about them in real life. With only five episodes left, the writers will hopefully get The Comedians back on track.

Tweet me @Staffaroadtrip or leave a comment below to let me know what you think about “Charity.”

Tune in to The Comedians Thursdays at 10:00 PM ET/PT, only on FX.

Visit the show’s website at http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/the-comedians.

Looking for The Comedians on social media? Follow these links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheComedians

Instagram: https://instagram.com/thecomediansfx/

Tumblr: http://thecomediansfx.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecomedians

 

You can also follow the cast on Twitter: @Josh Gad, @Billy Crystal, @Dana Delany, and @Megan Ferguson.

Photos © 2015 FX Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2015, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.

Greg Staffa

I provide testosterone to the site. You won’t be reading about how nice a actress looks in a dress or how much of a hunk Matt Bomer is in my reviews. I describe colors using words like brown, not taupe. My twitter name is @staffaroadtrip because I love road trips and have done two different 48-state road trips since 2008. My favorite show is White Collar.

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