Comedy Central’s “Nathan for You” will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and laugh some more

nathan

Comedy Central has become a powerhouse in the last couple of years with hits like Inside Amy SchumerKey and Peele, and Broad City. Last summer, the network quietly premiered the incredibly smart and insanely funny show, Nathan for You. 

The premise of this reality show is simple: Nathan Fielder (who “graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades”) provides advice to struggling small businesses.

Nathan (as a character of himself), his clients and their reactions, and the advice itself make this a comedic success. Small, lanky, and so awkward it makes you cringe, Nathan isn’t a big and loud reality show host like those in Extreme Home Makeover or Project Runway. Nathan balances his act between being a smart ass, incredibly awkward and uncomfortable, and a lonely/shy/looking-for-love kind of guy. Combine his deadpan personality with his bizarre business advice, and you can’t help but wonder how his clients are going to react. The advice he gives is extremely smart and well-thought-out but incredibly illogical.

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Start tuning in to HBO’s Silicon Valley

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HBO is  known for originating content that represents everyone from millennials in Brooklyn, to gay men in San Francisco, to fantasy royalty in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It was only a matter of time before they focused on a group of programmers in Silicon Valley.

Created by King of the Hill creator Mike Judge, Silicon Valley takes a look at youthful minds in a culture that begs for constant innovation. Where Owen Wilson’s and Vince Vaughn’s The Internship put two unlikely faces in the middle of this fast paced world of technology, Silicon Valley introduces us to the people who are comfortable creating our apps and smart phones.

The series’ protagonist, Richard Hendrix, is working alongside four other programmers in  an “incubator,” someone’s house where they all work on their individual programs. The other programmers are familiar comedic faces like Kumil Nanjiani (Portlandia), Josh Brener (The Internship), and T. J. Miller (Cloverfield). 

Richard is played by uncomfortable-yet-adorable Thomas Middleditch (who stars in a hilarious the Above Average webseries “The Morning After“). While coming up with a seemingly useless app to detect copyright infringement in music, he actually creates “a compression algorithm.” I put that in quotes because that means nothing to me, but it seems like it means everything to the team. Apparently, this fictional algorithm would make compressing files extremely quick without losing file quality. I take this to mean that I could watch this show on my iPhone without there being a stupid lag. When the company that Richard works for hears about his personal project, they begin a bidding war with innovative investor Peter Gregory, played by the late Christopher Evan Welch. In the heat of going from being a nobody to someone of enormous monetary value, Richard frantically weighs his options. Does he want to sell his idea, or turn it into his own business that he can build from the ground up?

While I didn’t find this show “laugh out loud” funny,  I’m pretty sure that was due to the technical jokes about programming and coding that they threw around. I’m sure it reflected  niche nuances of app-developing culture. Still, the show has a solid foundation to fully round out these characters, and I’m excited to see how the story about Richard’s business plays out over the course of this first season. With a clever  and unique environment, a varied ensemble of seasoned comedians, Silicon Valley is sure to be a hit.

“It’s just a garden variety panic attack,” a doctor says to Richard after he pukes out of stress during the bidding war. “Welcome to Silicon Valley. We see people like you all the time,” he replies.

Image, via.

 


A Misanthrope’s Guide to Television: Mad Men (spoiler alert!)

We all know that there is lots of TV to be watched on Sunday nights, and we all know that the TV fans that scream loudest are the Game of Thrones maniacs. Now, far be it from me to judge anyone for their choices in life, television or otherwise, but Game of Thrones is stupid (Ed. YOU TAKE THAT BACK). Full disclosure, I haven’t watched it, but I can only keep track of so many boobs and swords at once. So, in the event you need to stop looking up to the Khaleesi (or whatever), turn your sights on my hero: Joan.

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Mother of dragons? Cute.

Joan never went to college, but she’s got a B.A. in bad-assery and that’s all she seems to need. In the final season premier, Joan takes matters into her own hands and is on her way to becoming an account executive OVERTHROWING THE PATRIARCHY. Her masculine counterpart, Roger, seems to be spiraling into a crisis only orgies and incense can resolve, as his daughter attempts to absolve him of his sins.

Meanwhile, Pete is happy, and Peggy isn’t! What?! But Peggy is riding high with a corner office and underlings while Pete seems to be feeling bohemian way out west. They’re both raging workaholics who define themselves through rank and recognition, so why does Peggy end the episode collapsed on the floor while Pete raves about some stupid sandwich to Don?

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The five stages of grief of a television series

30 Rock - Season 7

“Thank you, America, that’s our show. Not a lot of people watched it, but the joke’s on you, ’cause we got paid anyway.” – Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock

I have lost many television shows in my day. I think back to the montage of flashbacks at the end of Lizzie McGuire right before Gordo kisses Lizzie. I asked two of my roommates for my privacy during the finales of Desperate Housewives30 Rock, and The Office. While I’m content with the TV shows in my life at the moment, I realize I’ll have to face the grief of watching another series finale episode and saying goodbye to the characters who have become part of my weekly life. Here are the well-calculated stages of grief of losing a TV show.

1. Denial. You hear the show is ending, and you scour the web to see if the rumors are true. Not my show! Not now! It could be canceled mid-season. There were signs, you think to yourself. It was eventually moved to a time slot where it was usually followed by infomercials or dated syndicated shows. Other times, you could tell the end was coming. The story line started dragging or becoming more absurd. In the most hopeful cases, the writers choose to end it on their own terms, giving them time to bring back your favorite characters and start to tie up loose ends in the story. But still, the end is inevitable.

2. Anger. How will I fill that one hour of my time?! Who will I turn to for life advice now that Liz Lemon is gone?! What will I base my relationships on without Jim and Pam?! I WAS A FAITHFUL AND LOYAL VIEWER. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME AGAIN?!!? Continue Reading


Start laughing along with Comedy Central’s Broad City

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I know you’re probably thinking: “I just finished House of CardsI can’t take on a new show in my life right now.” But trust me, Comedy Central’s new comedy series Broad City will have you laughing out loud and waiting for another week of hilarious New York City adventures.

It began as a comedy web series on YouTube by Upright Citizen Brigade performers, and real life best friends, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. The story goes that after auditioning  for many of UCB’s house improv teams and not getting in, the duo went off and created the alt-comedy gem that is Broad City. The YouTube series has two seasons with each episode usually lasting about five minutes. Each video brings to life a minuscule moment in the pair’s existence, focusing on issues as random as their moms thinking they’re lesbians, dating a guy for laundry privileges, or an afternoon of people watching.

The television show is about Abbi and Ilana just trying to get by in New York City. While it has been compared to Girls, it takes a more optimistic look into the life of a 20something. For example, in last week’s, episode Ilana loses the key to her apartment, and, after calling a sketchy locksmith, they ask him to open the neighbor’s door for fear of him returning to their home. The neighbors arrive to find Abbi and Ilana in their apartment and proceed to mace them, thinking they’re intruders. The girls then live life on the streets, literally homeless. If this were an episode of Girls, Marnie and Hannah would sit on the stoop and talk about how bleak their lives are if they can’t even get into their home. Broad City looks at the struggles of life as opportunities for adventure. 

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Get your Seth Meyers lecture tickets this Wednesday and Thursday

For most of us, Saturday Night Live consumption has been relegated to a hodgepodge of Hulu videos, “Best Of…” compilations on Watch Instantly and the sound bites from ’80s and ’90s sketches that have made their way into the cultural zeitgeist. But experiencing SNL like this has caused us to forget that each week a bunch of neurotic individuals sit down in a room to write over an hour of comic material for January Jones to infuse with her trademark lifelessness.

Since Tina Fey’s departure in 2006, the leader of SNL‘s writing staff has been Seth Meyers, a Northwestern grad with a background in improv and an uncanny ability to make celebrities spontaneously appear on Weekend Update. If you’ve ever wondered how he does it, you’re in luck. Continuing its tradition of bringing famous funny people to campus, the Brown Lecture Board has invited Meyers to speak on Tuesday, March 13. Tickets will be distributed (free of charge) from 12–1 p.m. in the Kasper Multipurpose Room (lower Faunce) on Wednesday and Thursday this week. The rule is 1 ticket per Brown/RISD ID and 2 IDs max per person.