With occasional reflection on the perpetual absurdity/intrigue of life and society in general.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Retro Recommendation - Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995)


Many people may know David Cross from his blistering stand-up or his ingenious portrayal of Tobias Funke. However, well before he became renowned as a member of that brilliant ensemble cast in Mitchell Hurwitz's Arrested Development (A groundbreaking, innovative, hilarious, critically acclaimed, flawlessly performed, intelligent comedy show with a cult fan-base - yet was prematurely cancelled due to ratings below network expectations) he was the co-creator and co-star of Mr Show with Bob and David (A groundbreaking, innovative, hilarious, critically acclaimed, flawlessly performed, intelligent comedy show with a cult fan-base - yet was prematurely cancelled due to ratings below network expectations). See any trend here? Yes indeed, sadly, some projects are simply too good and too smart for television consumption. Let's hope David keeps taking the punches, keeps screaming back, and doesn't change a thing.

The following write up appeared in an msn.com list of the best cancelled shows:

Premiered: September 1995
Cancelled: December 1998

Britain had "Monty Python." Canada had "SCTV." And America? We had "Mr. Show with Bob and David." Unfortunately, most viewers didn't know it. Created by and starring David Cross ("Arrested Development") and Bob Odenkirk, the sublime "Mr. Show" broke conceptual ground for sketch comedy in America when it hit the late-night air for HBO in 1995. Each half hour episode explored a theme and wrapped it with numerous live and taped skits, plus movies, around it. Sketches meld into one another, never giving audiences a chance to catch their breath. It feels like you are watching stream of conscious humor, yet the design is tight and extremely focused. The writing was smart, blisteringly funny and dark, and no target was off limits. "If you hear about it, it's so weird," observed Odenkirk of their approach. "But if you see it you don't think that for a minute." Try describing their hallucinogenic Sid and Marty Kroft parody "Welcome to Druggachusettes" or "Jeepers Creepers," their homage to "Jesus Christ Superstar," or a tearfully ironic commercial for "the New KKK," and you'll likely get blank stares from the uninitiated. Show them the skits, and you'll be picking them up off the floor. Ironically, normally groundbreaking HBO never understood "Mr. Show"' s sense of humor, and fought with Bob and David during the entire run, finally cancelling the show after four short seasons. Fanatical word of mouth kept interest in the show alive however, and in addition to releasing the DVDs, Bob and David launched a successful live theater tour of the show in 2001.

For more info on Mr. Show and updates on Bob and David, follow the link to The Bob and Davider. For full cast, crew, and production info, link here: Mr. Show.

Below are a couple of short sketches from the show that offer a taste of what to expect: