Season 1, Episode 10
Air Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 10:00 PM ET/PT on FX
“We can’t film this sketch in front of that sick, beautiful, little chemo boy.” – Josh
The newfound chemistry between Billy (Billy Crystal) and Josh (Josh Gad) is put in jeopardy when Billy finds himself at odds over a porn sketch written by Josh. Wanting the segment killed but fearing Josh’s reaction, Billy enlists Kristen’s ( Stephnie Weir) help to break the news. Will Kristen be able to stop the routine, or will Billy have to swallow his pride in order to appease Josh?
Watching the last few installments of The Comedians reminds me of the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day starring Billy Murray; the writers keep repeating the same formula over and over. After ten episodes, one would expect more of an evolution between Billy and Josh. Moments like the grocery store scene in “Red Carpet,” or what happens in the woods during “Misdirection,” should have been building blocks for the chemistry between the two. Instead, any growth from the two stars seemingly disappears the following week, putting them back at square one.
The cunning ways Billy tries to sabotage Josh is on of the plot points I enjoy most about The Comedians. For instance, Billy buying the crew a lavish lunch while Josh struggles to stay faithful to his juice diet during “Go for Gad.” So when young Adam (Jake Ryan) and his mom Stacy (played by Gad’s real life wife Ida Darvish) show up on set as part of a Make-A-Wish fulfillment, I knew things were about to get funny. The timing of Adam’s arrival along with Billy’s history for sabotaging Josh works perfectly and I laughed with anticipation as Billy again, finds a way to get what he wants. That is, until the real reason for Adam’s visit is revealed. Instead of appreciating the slight twist, I found myself let down because the build-up I thought was taking place turns out to be futile.
The weakest part of The Comedians continues to be the sketches for The Billy and Josh Show. Given that the series is a mockumentary of what happens behind the scenes, the bits appear more like an afterthought thrown in at the last minute to remind the audience that The Comedians is a show about the making of a show.
The announcement of an impersonation contest between the cast and crew probably seemed like an amusing plot point in the writers’ room but on screen, the idea quickly fizzles. This would have been an entertaining way to introduce some minor characters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear much effort was put into allowing these scenes to grow.
Listening to Senior VP of Production Bob Lemchen chew out Kristen over the phone, I couldn’t help wondering if The Billy and Josh Show was destined to fail from the beginning. Realizing the chemistry isn’t there for the fictional series and recasting the two leads would be an interesting way to set up a possible second season.
The one bright spot of “Red, White & Working Blue” is seeing more of Esme (Megan Ferguson). Ferguson is hilarious as she transforms into a drill sergeant barking commands and calling Billy and Josh “maggots.” Mitch (Matt Oberg) also gets more screen time that reveals more of his back story, something I enjoyed learning about.
Given the talents behind The Comedians, I expect more from a show of this caliber, especially as the season winds down. Despite having two comedic powerhouses in Crystal and Gad, along with the freedom late night cable TV provides, I can’t help thinking the series is holding back. But, for the life of me, I can’t imagine why.
Leave a comment below or tweet me @staffaroadtrip and let me know what you think about “Red, White & Working Blue.”
Tune in to The Comedians, Thursdays at 10:00 pm ET/PT, only on FX.
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Photos © 2015 FX Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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