Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Starring Eric Wareheim, Tim Heidecker
Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Launching a sketch comedy series these days often turns out to be a thankless task since very few of them ever manage to catch on during their first season. For every Saturday Night Live there’s a Fridays, for every In Living Color there’s a House of Buggin’, and for every Mr. Show with Bob and David there’s a Cedric the Entertainer Presents. Most sketch comedy series tend to fail because they’re little more than an interesting gimmick and a handful of failed attempts at creating iconic characters and hip catchphrases. There’s never any thought put into crafting skits that are genuinely hilarious and over-the-top performances that mostly veer close to being flat out obnoxious and sour movie parodies that would be rejected by even Cracked magazine become the order of the day.
The Cartoon Network’s nightly Adult Swim programming block has featured live-action shows to compliment their animated shows in the past. Two years ago Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the creators of the short-lived Adult Swim staple Tom Goes to the Mayor, merged their unique brand of humor with the sketch comedy format and the result was Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Of all the shows on Adult Swim Tim and Eric may be the most experimental, each 11-minute episode a strange sculpture built out of the strange programs one could find between cable channels early in the morning. There are a ton of small skits crammed into every show and each one often manages to spin humor out of the most unlikely sources, and some sources ripe for a comedic ripping.
Adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the proceedings is the technical goofiness that can actually give certain sketches the scratchy, poorly edited appearance of lovably godawful cable access shows, late night informercials, and cheeseball hidden camera programs (SPAGHETT!) complete with scrolling on-screen text that looks like it was done on someone’s home computer….in 1992!
For the show’s second season Heidecker and Wareheim have attracted a large assortment of cool celebrity guest stars whose sense of humor is never in question given the material they play out. They snagged Academy Award-nominated actor John C. Reilly (Walk Hard) to play the recurring role of Dr. Steve Brule, local news oracle on all things insignificant and expert in the art of last resort fighting. They brought on the great Jeff Goldblum (The Fly), not merely an actor but an icon, to shill for an over-the-counter drug called Wait-Mate that tends to cause memory loss (and then they have to bring in….Zan) and to introduce his new musical persona, the Jeff GoldBlu Man Group. Wait until you see legendary song parodist “Weird” Al Yankovic as Uncle Muscle, the public access host with the low raspy voice, and veteran actor Tom Skerritt looking quite uncomfortable as Tim and Eric attempt to write a jingle centered around him.
You’ll find cool comedians like Patton Oswalt (as a doctor helping Tim and Eric’s Beaver Boys balance out their shrimp and white wine intake), Bob Odenkirk (as the host of the magic TV show “Trick My Trick”), Zack Galifianakis (as “The Snuggler”), and Odenkirk’s Mr. Show comedy partner David Cross (as a spaced-out artist promoting a cat-centric product called Pussydoodles) popping up throughout the season. Rainn Wilson of The Office promotes an encyclopedia of every number in existence. Dave Navarro of the Red Hot Chili Peppers gets to be the guest star on a talk show that looks like it was made in some guy’s basement. Saturday Night Live star Fred Armisen plays K.J. Nutt, the host of “Hobby Holes,” a show dedicated to finding fun and fascinating uses for random holes. Armisen’s fellow SNL alum Will Forte pops up for a split second during the entire season, but somehow I spotted him. Every one is a good sport ready and willing to throw themselves headlong into whatever the writers concoct for them.
Throughout the second season of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (which I absorbed in a single sitting) we get to see Wareheim as a hairy manbeast with multiple nipples but not before making a crude music video about the kickass summer he spent with his supercool new friend Raz (Pina colada….no rum), prompting Tim to create a video of his own showing his own cool new friend. Heidecker and Wareheim introduce us to the joys of the Innernette (the cost-efficient alternative to the Internet which fits onto a single disc), play Jan and Wayne Skylar (the only married news team), and a pair of dumpy women who devote every moment of their lives to idolizing low-rent singer Bread Harrity, and then get into a bloody fight over an inappropriate baby photo which ends with someone’s heart literally getting ripped out. Cheesy music videos, the hideously unfunny impressions of James Quall, a store that specializes exclusively in making and selling tiny hats, and Eric getting Tim the gift of his very own Robin Williams are just a few of the highlights of this season. And of course there’s commercials for such fine products as the Poop Tube (it’s exactly as it sounds) and D’ump, the robotic deer that can act as an umpire for your baseball games. Before you laugh at these fictitious products you might find yourself realizing that some marketing genius may actually find them a good sell.
This is Tim and Eric’s awesome show we must remember. The whole enterprise lives and dies on the strength of these two guys. They make a good team often underplaying their performances because to overplay the sheer absurdity that has become their stock in trade would mercilessly kill any entertainment value to be found. Plus Heidecker and Wareheim have the look of a great comedy team, Heidecker the short guy who doesn’t wear glasses and Wareheim the tall guy who does. Of course neither one has a clearly defined role. They are whatever the sketch calls for them to be. Some of it is as silly as taking a hit of nitrous oxygen, but the rest of it often boggles the mind and makes you wonder if Tim and Eric and their staff of writers and actors are huffing. But at 11 minutes the episodes never wear out their welcome and if one sketch doesn’t work then by the time you realize it they move on to another one. Fortunately the gags and ideas are strong and funny enough to work most of the time and even when they don’t you can’t help but at least smile and chuckle lightly.
All ten episodes from the second season are included on a single DVD with a host of interesting added value features. The shows themselves are presented in fullscreen with optional English Dolby Stereo 2.0 and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio tracks, both pretty strong, along with English subtitles.
The extras kick off with a blooper reel (4 minutes) that consists of mostly line flubbing, random cracking up, and cutting to Tim and Eric behind the camera gracefully losing their shit. Awesome.
A lot of cut skits can be found among the eleven deleted scenes (13 minutes) and eleven extended scenes (17 minutes).
Four of the music videos from season two are given karaoke versions (5 minutes), which works out well given the nature of the videos.
There are seven episode promos (5 minutes) that were produced in the grand tradition of Adult Swim promos.
The disc closes out with a series of featurettes on the show and its growing cult following:
“Kaz Kiss” (2 minutes) is a slight but fun feature about a recurring gag among the cast and crew that involves a bit player on the show named Kaz.
“Edgar Allen Poe IV” (1 minute) is another slim time waster focusing on another actor on the show and his head shots.
“Awesomecon 2008” (7 minutes) takes a look at a special party Heidecker and Wareheim threw for fans of the show.
Finally “Tim and Eric Awesome Tour 2008” (49 minutes) follows our intrepid hosts as they take their live act across America. This is an entertaining documentary and the most substantial of the bonuses.
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is wildly infectious fun that plays pretty well late at night when chances are you’re too damn tired to question someone’s sanity, and it’s given a fine DVD to help its cult grow beyond the television screen. “Great job!”
BAADASSSSS will return.