Hit or Sh**: Comedy Central’s IDIOTSITTER
In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.
I do not care a single iota about IDIOTSITTER after watching the pilot. I’m not exactly sure where and I’m not exactly sure when, but somewhere along the line film and television executives decided that overweight women who are confidently crass are a horse to beat to death, reanimate, beat to death again, and repeat the process until we can reach the trope’s necrotic quarks. Featuring painfully bland jokes that are almost entirely low-hanging fruit, an awkward tone that doesn’t know whether it wants to play its cards straight or waltz off into the magical land of alt-comedy, and a strange disturbing twist at the end that is exceptionally ill-conceived, IDIOTSITTER is one for short-term memory.
Presented without comment
The concept is simple, familiar, and actually seems better suited for a feature of middling quality than an episodic structure. Charlotte Newhouse plays Billie Brown: a neurotic, unemployed Harvard graduate that takes a babysitting gig. Little does she know, the client wants her to watch over Jillian Bell’s Gene Russell, a problematic adult who’s currently under house arrest after drunkenly riding a horse through suburbia. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it at least sets the stage for several hypothetical situations of humor. Emphasis on hypothetical.
“Someone thought this would be good!”
IDIOTSITTER is just not that funny. Now, look, in this day and age comedies don’t necessarily have to be funny by the historically defined term. With shows like TIM AND ERIC AWESOME SHOW, GREAT JOB! and THE ERIC ANDRE SHOW gaining popularity and relevance, a show can easily find an audience by playing with structure and form to the point where humor can be found in the blatant lack of humor. We’re gradually growing more familiar with drawing giggles out of awkward and uncomfortable situations, and the use of instantly quotable non-sequiturs and a distinct lack of a punchlines are gradually overtaking their dusty comedic predecessors. Unfortunately, IDIOTSITTER uses the overtly talky Will Ferrell comedy style to no great success. While outlandish dialogue and one-liners have entirely carried beloved comedies such as ANCHORMAN and STEP BROTHERS, the examples utilized in IDIOTSITTER shine an unflattering light on just how much of a pale comparison it is when compared to its popular peers.
Perhaps I spoke too soon
For some strange reason, the running joke the pilot instills as its champion is a wacky misunderstanding between references to the composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, and the beloved St. Bernard star of children’s films, Beethoven. The first time we hear the joke, it serves as a perfectly pleasant one-liner. The third and fourth time we hear poor Beethoven’s name dragged through the mud, our nerves are grated, especially when it’s delivered as lamely as it is by Billie (she drunkenly shouts, “Call me Beethoven… because I love classical music!” at a party thrown by Gene).
And then there’s my dear friend Chet. I’ll let Chet’s line “I’ll give her a push… in the bush… with my penis” speak for itself. I suppose there are some rather funny moments, such as when ‒ oh, wait, I forgot: a key plot element of the pilot is that Gene and Chet roofie Billie so that she’ll have fun and enjoy herself at the party Gene throws against her will. Isn’t that a hilarious joke in 2016, when all we’ve heard about for the past year has been how little everyone that Bill Cosby did that to enjoyed themselves??? So actually, fuck whatever moments of brief, fleeting chuckles the pilot provides, because someone at Comedy Central signed off on a roofie joke in this day and age.
If there’s one thing I can say in the pilot’s favor, it’s that it got me to Google the 2005 movie DISHDOGZ.
IDIOTSITTER airs on Thursdays on Comedy Central