Irma Vep (2022, Olivier Assayas)

Mira in the catsuit > Director Rene > Gottfried > Mira not in the catsuit > everything else

Mdou Moctar opening theme is always an incentive to watch the next episode, and I think the title graphics are a reference to Leaud’s experimental re-edit. The film-scratching is also referenced when director Rene breaks down and gets temporarily replaced by some superhero director, but in this version he comes to terms with things, and finishes the shoot peacefully. You can’t scratch up the negative when you’re shooting in HD.

Cast and crew are constantly referencing looks and movements with the original serial, which they’re watching on their phones. And Assayas has got his own 1990’s film on his mind, bringing in a Maggie Cheung surrogate and holding a cringey psychotherapist discussion about her. They bring in meta-elements, filming Musidora’s diaries alongside the remake of her film, which probably isn’t a reference to Maggie’s Center Stage, but you never know.

Mira’s assistant is Devon Ross, a Disney fashion model. Blowhard lead cop actor in the serial is Vincent Lacoste of Smoking Causes Coughing. Alex Descas works on the budget, Carrie Brownstein as an agent. Besides the Maggie surrogate there’s footage of the real Maggie, and a big Kristen Stewart scene in the final episode. As the costumer, Rivette actress Nathalie Richard is replaced by Rivette actress Balibar, who hit the Feuilladian rooftops herself in Va Savoir (and at one point Irma goes by the name “Juliet Berto”).

Devon directs one day, is inspired by Kenneth Anger to invoke spirits with her filmmaking. Assayas knows how to invoke spirits – most literally in Personal Shopper but it’s there in all his best work, which is why the straightforward e-book drama of Non-Fiction didn’t work for me and I’m not anxious to check out Wasp Network. This version is not great – it’s overlong, episodic TV, more content than cinema, complete with tedious Conveying Information To The Viewer dialogue in the early hours and bad ADR.


Mind Over Murder (2022, Nanfu Wang)

Happy to see a True/Falser land a whole miniseries, but I’m sorry that the form seems to mandate six hour-long episodes, since this feels stretched out, with rampant footage reuse, a plodding podcast-ass show compared to the jubilant Last Movie Stars I’ve been watching at the same time. Other comparisons coming to mind: the book Devil House (an 80’s murder case where the number of participants keeps changing) and the show Wormwood (which I thought repetitive at the time, but is looking better and better).

Nebraska, showing movies in ZD:

Hero cop convicts six for a Nebraska murder, but years later a competent cop looks over the evidence by chance and realizes the whole case was a sham. The six are released, sue the county and win, now the locals are butthurt about their hero cop’s reputation and their higher taxes to pay for reconciliation. A community theater reenactment of the case appears for too little (or maybe too much) time in each episode, paying off at the end when many of the involved parties meet up at the show.

Burt, he’s just like us, watching Mind Over Murder with his phone out:


Only Murders in the Building season 1 (2021)

Martin & Martin are pathetic washed-up podcasters, Selena Gomez their companion who’s hiding a personal history with the deceased. Suspects include a cat guy, their sponsor Nathan Lane, Sting, and Selena Gomez. They get boosts from Aaron Dominguez and some obsessed fans, and sorta-boosts from Liz Lemon, detective Da’Vine Joy Randolph (also detective of Ultra City Smiths) and murderer/bassoonist Amy Ryan. Cliffhanger ending for season 2 with their arrest for killing the landlady.

Sometimes I think it’s cheesy and I should stop watching, other times there’s a Herman’s Head reference or an episode centered on Jane Lynch as Steve Martin’s stunt double and I’m totally sold. Writers include Martin (L.A. Story), John Hoffman (The Emoji Movie) and people who worked on It’s Always Sunny, Chuck, Barry, and uh, Family Guy. Directors: Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader), Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child), Don Scardino (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and Cherien Dabis (Amreeka).

It’s taking a while to get through SHOCKtober writeups, ain’t it?
Here’s the rest of the Guillermo del Toro series.


Pickman’s Model (Keith Thomas)

Handsome Christian-Bale-ish lead guy Ben Barnes (of a Dorian Gray movie) is intrigued when older Crispin Glover joins his art class, drawing unspeakable horrors in cemeteries and saying stuff like “suffering is living.” Years later, Ben is still hanging around drawing rooms boring people about the values of modern art, visits the insistent Crispin’s studio, discovers the guy didn’t have a wild imagination but was realistically drawing the beasties emerging from the well-to-hell in his basement.

Keith Thomas? Hardly a master of horror, he made this year’s Firestarter remake (Filipe review: “very uninspired product… cheap and ugly looking.”) Here he makes every actor look foolish, and overdoes the sound design, though the subtle motion in the drawings was neat.


The Viewing (Panos Cosmatos)

I knew who directed this one as soon as the Oneohtrix music kicked in. Four TV talk-show guests are invited to rich Peter Weller’s new age bunker: music producer Eric Andre, alien astrophysicist Charlyne Yi, novelist Steve Agee, and ESP expert Michael Therriault (of a recent Chucky movie). Sofia Boutella is there somehow, and a henchman from Books of Blood. They enjoy their host’s special whiskey, magic joint, cocaine and fairy dust, and sinister alien meteorite… then some of them melt or explode, and the rest fight for their lives to escape. Fuckin’ cool.


Dreams in the Witch-House (Catherine Hardwicke)

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that I’m tagging these posts “Masters of Horror,” because really, what’s the difference between the two series? This is a special crossover episode, since we saw Stuart Gordon’s version of the same Lovecraft story in 2006. That was the end of practical effects creativity, and though the 2006 rat-person wasn’t brilliant work, it’s miles better than the lazy bullshit computer-rat in this version.

But I get ahead of myself – first Rupert Weasley grows up caring about ghosts after seeing his sister die, works at a brokedown spiritualist society, checks into a house where a woman who claimed dimensional travel once lived. There he has sleep paralysis and is visited by a cool witch and the aforementioned bullshit rat. Second episode this week about otherworldly paintings, as Rupert is warned the witch will kill him by sunrise, and this proves to be true, but I think he manages to resurrect his sister in exchange. Some good cursing, at least.

I was not hoping to be reminded of The Blazing World:


The Murmuring (Jennifer Kent)

As someone who rarely goes a day without singing “Murmuration Song” to my birds, a story about a bird-watching couple would be right up my alley. The pair (Essie “Babadook” Davis and Andrew “Walking Dead” Lincoln) are haunted by the ghost of their past (their kid died) and also by literal mother/son ghosts, with increasingly intense visits (not Jennifer Kent with a parental trauma movie). They’ve brought portable recording equipment to an island (reminiscent of Fire of Love) to study sandpipers when Essie starts sidetracking into ghost drama. It’s my first shocktober in our new old house, and all the stories seem determined to tell us that old houses are full of harmful vibes.

A new horror anthology, with a bunch of directors and actors I like. For those of us who still miss Masters of Horror and won’t watch American Horror Story.


Lot 36 (Guillermo Navarro)

Aaaand it’s not starting out too great. Series producer Guillermo Del Toro wrote this for his longtime cinematographer to direct. Tim Blake Nelson is a bitter, racist veteran, in debt to some dangerous dudes, buying abandoned storage units in hopes of turning a profit off the junk inside. He finds some rare German books in a dead nazi’s unit, and cult expert Sebastian Roché offers to buy them for 10k, or 300k if Tim can find the missing book. They return to the unit together, find the hidden passage behind the false wall, and CG Cthulhu eats Sebastian Roché.

Tim finding the book in less than mint condition:


Graveyard Rats (Vincenzo Natali)

Hmmm, another gross guy in debt trying to make quick cash off the dead… two episodes, and the series is already in a rut. Much more silly dialogue in this one, as David Hewlett (of Natali’s Cube and Splice) robs graves (and other grave robbers). Afraid of rats and confined spaces, of course he becomes buried alive in a rat tunnel, and wouldn’t you know it, he finds another Cthulhu down there. He smooshes the giant blind mama rat, evades a zombie chanting “mine mine mine” like a Nemo seagull or a Jon Spencer song, does not make it out, and gets the Creepshow roach ending.


The Autopsy (David Prior)

More dead bodies, another tentacle creature, and going from a rat cave to a mine. This one is much more complex and original, with elegant camerawork tying the night sky to underground rock to a spiderweb. Sheriff Glynn Turman investigates a bombing that killed some miners, and the stolen identity of late miner Luke Roberts (Batman’s dad in the latest reboot) while Dr. F. Murray Abraham digs through the bodies. One body comes alive, knocks out Dr. Abraham and self-autopsies while meticulously explaining his evil plan (“we have inhabited men for millennia” – it’s a Hidden situation). Given the extra time to plan, and seeing as how he’s dying from cancer anyway, Abraham sabotages his own body to trap the alien when it takes over.


The Outside (Ana Lily Amirpour)

Stacey works at a bank where she doesn’t fit in, shoots and taxidermies ducks in her spare time, is married to cop Martin Starr (blinded in Infinity Baby). She gets addicted to a pricey lotion (with TV spokesman Dan Stevens) that turns everyone else beautiful but only gives her a bad rash, so she uses more and more of it, until she meets her The Stuff doppelganger and they re-enact the end of Annihilation, then she kills her husband and goes to work. Excellent performance by Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) trapped in a grueling, overlong episode.

The Rehearsal season 1 (2022)

1. Synecdoche For You, with a trivia buff worried about a fib he’s told.
“Sometimes you don’t want to say anything, but you do want people to know you exist.”

2. Angela raising a child, Robin as short-lived father-figure.
3. Gold-digger girlfriend and fake grandpa with secret gold. “Maybe for some the rehearsal itself is enough.”
4. Fielder Method school spirals into itself, featuring closing credits for “fake roommates” and “fake fake roommates.”
5. Focus on famiily life, clashing with Angela’s christianity. “It turns out winter is very expensive to maintain.”
6. Trying to un-brainwash the six year-olds, and imagining how the rehearsals could have been improved.
“I was starting to feel like I was just solving a puzzle of my own design.”

A show we’re gonna think about for a long time. Nathan likes to live in tricky ethical territory. The cowriters also worked on Silicon Valley and the On Cinema universe.

Alissa Wilkinson’s article is the one to read.
Update: so is Vikram Murthi’s.


How To with John Wilson season 2 (2022)

1. John’s landlady is moving, offers to sell him the house. He looks at other properties, talks with finance people, discusses the horror of being a landlord, sidetracks into Second Life, then rides the ferry to think, and goes home with a rich ventriloquist.
2. appreciating wine (and energy drinks)
3. finding a parking spot, getting struck by lightning, resting in peace
4. recycling batteries / cannibal patch kids and nazi flags and sex offenders
5. dreams / entrepeneur whose product idea came in a dream / targeted ads / facts (1010 Wins) vs. fantasy (Avatar)
6. being spontaneous but learning that being apparently-spontaneous requires a lot of work… wandering through Las Vegas looking for his landlady and ending up in a convention-convention, where people make plans to make plans


Kids in the Hall season 6 (2022)

This was an actual dream come true.

1. Brain Candy board room / unearthing / fully clothed bank robbers / cathy and cathy sending earth’s final fax / a tart is called a pie / 60-year-old strippers
2. racing an easy chair / delivery doctor drop average / sentient gloryhole / cheating imaginary girlfriend / zoom masturbation
3. postapocalypse morning DJ “remain indoors” / ambumblance / DJ getting robocalls / Shakespeare is resurrected, “get thee to the fucking metro” / gut spigot drains fat away / clown shoes are cultural appropriation / DJ
4. superdrunk / hotel women too weak to get off couch / superdrunk / pawn shop, Kevin tricks Dave into appearing in a Kevin sketch / superdrunk vs. crusher / neighborhood patrol of guys who kinda know things are off somehow

5. Gender reveal is boy with head of a mouse / a little old to be playing a kid / oversexed 1970’s Italians hire sex therapist / lonely guy gets serial killer cats / Italians / couple fights after husband impulse-buys a new house / Italians / hitman with invisible weapons eliminates toilet humor
6. toxic network boss / hateful baby / son films aged dad carrying mom over threshold / avant-garde “friends of mark” / aged dad / police marching techniques / summoning the banana demon / network boss is in a pickle
7. taddli on smoking / naked tenant wants his bathwater hot-hot / taddli on recycling / the eradicator plays squash (“I’ll snap YOU for the ‘gram”) / taddli confronts the writers room / gay couples threatened by interest in women
8. he’s not crazy he just lost his glasses / employees must wash hair before pooping / husband is embarrassed on his own lawn / whenever men with extravagant mustaches meet in the park one commits a murder / studying gen-z viewing habits and writing a cliffhanger about writing a cliffhanger


I gave up on Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special after 15 minutes. RIP Dallas and Norm. Watched a whole Amy Schumer-presented standup thing with Ron Funches, Jaye McBride, Christina P, Rachel Feinstein, Chris Distefano, Lil Rel Howery. Watched a whole hour by some guy just the other day… it was free on Prime… what was that guy’s name? Did I cover the David Cross special last time? When did that come out?

Still in the middle of Mind Over Murder (hi Katy), Irma Vep, The Last Movie Stars (hi Katy), Underground Railroad (long-delayed), and Only Murders in the Building (season ONE, no spoilers).

I kept holding onto these until I watched more TV, then I didn’t watch more TV… can’t seem to get to episode two of Underground Railroad or the second half of Only Murders or to start the new seasons of any of my current faves, just chilling with old movies for now.


Voir (2021)

I thought these would be Story of Film clip shows, but the first episode is mostly original photography. It’s about the summer of Jaws, with a reference to the spider eggs in Bubble Yum. 2: Tony Zhou on Lady Vengeance and the revenge film formulas – this one’s a total clip show with guest speakers, and is really nice. 3: we see the narrator, Drew McWeeny on lead-character likeability, from Lawrence of Arabia through The Godfather to Taxi Driver. Funny that he’s talking about the rise of obnoxious lead characters in the late 60s/early 70s the night after I watched Performance. 4: no film critic monologue here, it’s a special on the art of animated character design, featuring Glen Keane and artists from Brave and The Lego Movie. 5: Movies vs. TV, ehhh. 6: Simply about race in the movie 48 Hrs., but well thought-out and easily better than the last couple, which were more technical. This series was David Prior’s follow-up to The Empty Man, weirdly enough.


Travel Man season 1 (2015)

Tempted to watch The Souvenir Part II for a few sweet glimpses of Richard Ayoade, instead I discovered he spent eight years hosting reality TV shows, so I dug one up. Season one covers Barcelona with Kathy Burke… Istanbul with Adam Hills… Iceland with Jessica Hynes (Spaced), the best episode yet, and the place I most want to visit… and Marrakesh w Stephen Mangan (“The beauty is largely offset by fear”). More, please.

Uh oh, opens with fun goofy comedy music. This is fast-paced for Ozu – it looks like Tati and there’s a lot of cartoon farting (proud of myself for making that connection, David Cairns mentions Tati in the first minute of his extra feature).

The neighborhood adults exchange petty gossip – one mom is falsely accused of embezzling from her woman’s association to buy a washing machine, one couple is correctly accused of walking around in their nightclothes all day. Meanwhile the kids are obsessed with farting (one kid keeps doing it wrong and running home for a change of pants) until they find a new past-time: staying mute and hungry until dad agrees to buy a television. Movie’s about modernization, aging, retirement, usefulness, the point of small talk – typical Ozu topics in a fart-comedy disguise.

Collection of useful subtitles for film-twitter meme-reactions:

Atlanta season 1 (2016)

Paper Boi experiences the weirdness of semi-fame while Earn pretends to be his manager. Darius gets kicked out of a shooting range. Highlights: “Black people don’t know who Steve McQueen is,” Glover’s fake Bieber song, Jane Adams’ mistaken identity plot turning weird, white guy who loves black people at the rich party – so, pretty much all the racial-clashing material – plus every word LaKeith Stanfield says. Locations: the L5P Zesto (which just announced it’s closing). Earn tries to go on a cheap date in Kirkwood on the same block as Le Petit Marche. The Cameli’s where Blogger Zan works apparently isn’t a real location. Wonder if their calzones are still incredibly good. Van is fired from her teaching job at KIPP Vision Primary, a few blocks from the Starlight Drive-in. I can’t find whether the Primal nightclub was filmed in a real club or a set.


Rick & Morty season 5 (2021)

501: Morty’s girlfriend Jessica is a Time God, Rick has an archrival, they destroy another civilization. Was that a Matter of Life and Death reference?
502: “Someone just killed the decoy family”
503: Morty falls for female Captain Planet, Rick and Summer go on a planetary apocalypse tour
505: Hellraiser/Ferris Bueller/Transformers mashup
506: National Treasure x Thanksgiving
507: Voltron x Casino, very great
509: Morty gets into mortal combat with psycho portal boy Nick, Rick becomes obsessed with two crows. Was that a two-parter? I thought I’d remember these better than I do.

This ep wasn’t even called A Morty of Life and Death:


Nathan For You season 2 (2014)

Lately his thing is embarrassing himself about personal issues in front of clients. After defrauding people into buying souvenirs on camera using a fake Johnny Depp, Nathan has to prove to a judge that he was making a real movie with these people as actors, so he starts a film festival to win it an award and gain credibility, and hopefully cast a love interest who will agree to be his girlfriend. Nathan hires a focus group to make him more likable, sells liquor to minors, uses fear to make people lose weight, hires 40 maids to clean a house in six minutes. Towards the end of the season his business ideas start failing harder: a pregnant woman refuses to give birth in a cab to promote a taxi company, then Nathan gets kicked out of a hot dog place and ambushes the customer who messed up his plan. MVPs Fake Johnny Depp and Dumb Starbucks.


Ultra City Smiths (2021)

Watched after Tom Waits Mode since he narrates. Mostly a bust, despite it being doll-head stop-motion crime/conspiracy plot with many good actors – those star names on the opening titles are mostly for minor characters who get a few lines, and the whole thing feels like a setup for future seasons, which I’m not watching unless there are new writers. An odd repetitive rhythm to the overtalky dialogue which I wasn’t feeling. Nice to see something unique though, and Bobby Bare Jr. sings the theme song.


Sampled the first episode of a few shows… Breeders with Martin Freeman is really unpleasant, A Black Lady Sketch Show uneven, and I’m undecided on I Think You Should Leave – got some chuckles, but it’s pretty poop-centric humor. The big winners are Devilman Crybaby (my favorite anime director made a pornographic satanic hellraising series, I am psyched)… Detroiters (thought this would be sketch comedy but I guess it’s about guys who run an ad agency, less cringey than Nathan For You)… Only Murders in the Building… and Mythic Quest.

Got 10 minutes into When I Come Home, which was too loose and fuzzy for my mood that night. But I hit play by accident and it actually played even though my laptop was connected to the external monitor. Between this and the new wifi extender, it could be a new era of streaming, we will see.


Other Things Unfinished this year:
Daniel Barnett’s Science Without Substance
Spielberg’s Duel
The Chaplin Revue
The Terror
Bo Burnam: Inside (features editing humor, my favorite kind)
The Beatles: Get Back

Search Party season 4 (2021)

Dory has been kidnapped by Chip (Cole Escola of Difficult People), spends the whole season trying to escape with no help from meddling neighbor Ann Dowd (Tater Channing’s mom in Side Effects) who also gets kidnapped then quickly murdered, and no help from Chip’s aunt Susan Sarandon, sent by the family to burn down the house as damage control. Before that Chip tries to Overboard Dory into thinking she’s had a trauma and they’re a happy couple. Meanwhile in the world, Portia is portraying Dory in a movie, Elliott’s right-wing TV co-host is killed by Chantal, Drew tries to escape it all and dates theme park princess Rebecca Robles. A proper search party ensues, things kinda work out – it’s probably a step up from season 3.


Archer season 8 (2017)

Dreamland season: comatose Archer dreams himself and his friends into a noirish period piece in which he’s avenging his dead partner (the actually dead Woodhouse). Feat. Jeffrey Tambor as the gangster-type who hires Detective Figgis, Eugene Mirman as a clueless rich guy, and Maggie Wheeler as New Yawk Trinette. Highlights: Pam’s houseful of secretly rescued women, Krieger’s pack of nazi robot dogs, robot Barry with a halberd. Proud of my former coworkers for working on a good show with a JG Thirlwell score.


The Thick of It season 3 (2009)

Picking up an entire decade after I watched season two, afraid I’d have no idea what’s happening due to both my ignorance about British politics and having forgotten the first two seasons. But of course the show is just a constant stream of inventive insults, which turned out to be precisely what I needed to destress after a work day. This season was elevated by Rebecca Front as the new Minister of Whatever, and a doubling-down on Malcolm’s character, who now takes over every episode until he’s sacked at the end of the season.

Capaldi getting sacked:


Solar Opposites season 1 (2020)

Another wicked Justin Roiland animated show full of refracted cultural references (Green Room callout in second episode). Grown-up aliens played by Roiland (brainy scientist typecast) and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) with two kids (one of whom keeps desperate shunken humans in the wall like an ant farm) and “the pupa” form a parody of a sitcom family, trying to fit in and eventually conquer (they kill a ton of humans every episode). Made me laugh, passed the time – late to the party, a third season is in the works. Andy Daly plays Tim, underdog hero of the people trapped in the wall, Alfred Molina his overlord rival, regular appearances by the usual gang of comedians and voice actors.

Terry, Corvo, Nanobots:


Moonbase 8 season 1 (2020)

How did I not hear from all corners that there was a comedy starring Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker and John C. Reilly as would-be astronauts? Maybe because it’s just pretty good and aired on Showtime.

Reilly with Atlanta’s own Ted Parker:

Armisen in mission mode:


Tales from the Tour Bus season 2 (2018)

Just as great as season one, with more interconnections between episodes since the funk scene was close-knit, until the standalone Betty Davis finale. George Clinton, Bootsy, James Brown and Morris Day (and indirectly Prince) are covered, and if the stories aren’t all better than the country season, the music and performance footage are. Katy will attest that I had to put the show on hold for a few months to recover after getting hit hard by the Rick James story.

Still the best story:

How To with John Wilson (2020)
Painting with John (2021)

Two low-fi HBO shows made by very different auteur-Johns. Both shows seem like each episode is a new random doc segment of a John’s life, then in the final episode you realize they’ve taken you on a journey with purpose. This is my new favorite kind of show.

“I crashed seven drones.” Lurie’s playfulness extends to the filmmaking, where he shows a domestic scene then replays it with added laugh track. Unlike the fishing show in a couple major ways: no celebrity guests, and John can actually paint.

Wilson’s show loves visual puns and sidetracks following unusual characters. In an episode on improving memory, while looking for a Zagnut bar he meets a supermarket inventory system developer who is obsessed with the Mandela Effect (“I found the one place where the worse your memory was, the more people liked you”), then he stumbles into the West Side Story remake set (“for the rest of the week it was hard to tell who was a human and who was an actor”).

from How To Split The Check, which leads John to a sad referee convention:

wildlife from How To Make Small Talk:

The other John:


Central Park season 1 (2020)

Oh wow, a comedy musical with cast from Hamilton and Book of Mormon and Kimmy Schmidt and Veronica Mars… good characters and songs… would be the perfect show to watch with Katy except for its singleminded love of poop jokes. Doesn’t bother me, I’m waiting for season two.

Harassing owls:


The Venture Bros. season 1 (2004)

Show is more bizarre than I realized. The title characters are useless, all the drama happening around them, and it steals characters (the Six Million Dollar Man, the Fantastic Four) from other shows at will. Foetus music, a Lydia Lunch reference. Twist: the Venture Bros are killed in an Easy Rider season finale.

Creator Christopher McCulloch voices the Monarch and a Venture, and worked on the The Tick #1, while Tick #2 voices bodyguard Brock Samson. The other Venture is prolific anime voice actor Michael Sinterniklaas, and their dad is James Urbaniak, who shares my birthday and is from New Jersey, so we’re practically family.


Samurai Jack season 1 (2001)

Only after Primal came out did I belatedly realize I was stupid for never watching this. Demon sends samurai into an intergalactic future, what’s not to like. Wasn’t expecting the season to end with Aku telling fairy tales to kids, complete with a reference to The Shining.

Among many online concerts, i attended the quarantine edition of SF Sketchfest, which opened with a montage of famous comedians saying no to Sketchfest. Fred Armisen welcome, Reggie Watts theme song, Eugene Mirman using a flowby during intermission, Triumph vs. Weird Al. Highlights were Jon Hamm’s movie trivia, Kumail vs. Emily, and the Kids in the Hall.

Attempted to watch The Shivering Truth – really sweet puppet animation, shame it’s wasted on so many unfunny jokes. Adam Fuchs did the titles! Also walked out on stand-up specials by Yvonne Orji, Jenny Slate, Eric Andre and Tiffany Haddish. I stayed through A Steven Wright Special (1985)

Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life (2012) has some sweet puns and lots of editing humor.


Nathan Barley (2005)

“It’s bad to have a bad uncle.” Julian Barratt is a pathetic angry guy who works for terrible website Trashbat run by Barley. Dan and his sister Claire room with DJ Nathan Fielder, and all of them discover they’re no better than the dummies they’re mocking. Barley torments a young Ben Whishaw, and Richard Ayoade and Benedict Cumberbatch are hanging around. When all your characters are annoying it’s hard for the show not to end up annoying, but as an intersection of post-Brass Eye Chris Morris, pre-Newswipe Charlie Brooker, and mid-Mighty Boosh everyone else, I was gonna have to watch it.


Charlie Brooker had an early-quarantine special Antiviral Wipe, then the end-of-year Death to 2020. The highlight of both was the Barry Shitpeas quote on OUATIH: “Quentin Cappucino made a new version of that film he does.” The latter special featured some good fake celebrity commentators and websites.