When it first appeared on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of programming, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Seemed like a blight on the TV landscape. A sub-Family Guy slice of gross-out comedy indulging in randomness for the sake of randomness. I quickly dismissed it as typical stoner BS. But, after watching a full season, the show develops a very peculiar kind of charm. Hit the jump for my full review.
In larger doses, it becomes clear that Tim and Eric is not random at all. Rather, it is one of the most specific and mannered comedies on television, carrying a singular voice and highly stylized tone that approaches the level of avant-garde art.
What at first appears to be random nonsense about different kinds of handshakes and specialized diarrhea pants evolves into a sort of Marshall McLuhan inspired satire of the very nature of television; the medium is the barrage. The show is indeed live action, but it is as much of a cartoon as anything I have ever seen.
Too, each episode works on a central theme, though it is often obscured to the point of near illegibility. And the jokes that seem to come from nowhere and lead nowhere actually do build on one another. Episodes like “Universe” take a wacky approach to solipsism and existentialism, while others, like the season opener “Snow” brutally lampoon the consumer culture that urges people to spend money they don’t have on crap they don’t need. The satire is as brutal as it is funny. Which is to say, very.
At points it is reminiscent of Luis Buñuel only to moments later shift into a mode more reminiscent of a Will Ferrell comedy. But the style remains unique because there is a definite hard-edged element of sadomasochism to the proceedings. The jokes are so gross that they are often hard to watch and great glee is taken in pain. Tim and Eric don’t just enjoy pretending to hurt each other; they seem to take joy in inflicting discomfort on their audience. Skits like, “Good News, Cigarette Juice!” are so revolting that they make you want to vomit twice: once from their puerile nature, and once from laughing so hard.
Though the show appears to be custom made for bite-sized ADHD riddled consumption, the episodes consistently hold together with segments running into one another headlong and building to a cacophony of antisocial weirdness. Sure, you can see 90 seconds on youtube, but that amounts to hearing the setup for a joke without the punch line.
Another thing that one notices upon close viewing is the clever and detailed visual palette of the show. Though it looks slapdash and thrown together, it is actually quite developed. In many of the establishing shots, Tim and Eric stand in front of a green screen with a bizarre backdrop. Moments later, the cut-in will feature a physical set, matching the seemingly impossible design of their meme inspired master. This is not done in every scene, nor in every episode, and it rarely calls attention to itself, but it is quite effective in creating a sustained, dreamlike feel.
Tim and Eric is not the best show on Adult Swim, not by a long shot. The show is far too aggressive for most and though they are consistently funny and share a great chemistry neither Tim nor Eric ever feels like a full-fledged character. Thus there are never any running character-based gags between episodes and there are never any sketches that feel tailored to either actor, either one could read any line and it would have the exact same impact.
It is far less ambitious than Xavier Renegade Angel, less comfy than Metalocalypse and less iconic than Venture Brothers or Aqua Teen Hunger Force. But Tim and Eric still offers a unique, cockeyed view of the world that is well worth a look.
I never enjoyed this show or gave it serious consideration until I received this DVD, so it’s as good a starting place as any. Recommended, especially with friends and a few…viewing aids.
As with most Adult Swim programs, Tm and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Season 4 comes with a plethora of extras, starting with the eye-catching dvd cover. Adult Swim really knows how to put together a nice looking package.
First, there is a collection of deleted scenes. Most of these are about as funny as anything in the show. If you like to watch segments on Youtube, this is about the same effect., There are also extended scenes. Same drill as the deleted scenes, most of these are very funny, but most were shortened with good reason.
The blooper reel is uncommonly entertaining, highlighted by a truly gross gag involving the aforementioned diarrhea pants.
Road Trip Dummy is basically a goofy making-of segment about one of the season’s more complex bodily dismemberments.
Cast of Tennis fares less well, acting as an extension of the episode “Tennis.” Seeing the random, half-second cameos was fun in context, but we already have a pause and rewind button on our DVD players. Guessing and thinking “is that really…?!” is far more fun than just being told.
Zillionaire is another making-of segment. Weird and almost insightful.
Awesomecon is a short collection of footage taken from Comic-Con. It’s mostly just a shout out to the fans who showed up in costume. Only really cool if you were there.
Karaoke is a collection of the season’s songs for you to sing over. I suppose this is fun with friends, but I haven’t tried it.
Up next is a live rendition of one of the larger songs from the show. It’s kind of a promo for Tim and Eric’s life act, and it’s good, but not terribly memorable.
Finally there is Restaurant Fart, a totally worthless segment about the one time a day player farted on set.
I didn’t expect to like Tim and Eric. I only got it because I knew my roommate was obsessed with the show. But damnit, it won me over. Worth a look. The DVD extras are also above par.
The Show: 8.2/10
The DVD: 8.0/10