For starters, it’s on Netflix. That hardly sets it apart as much as the show’s format does. Or lack of a format, to be precise.
The new comedy is a blast of confessional storytelling steeped in fourth wall breakdowns. Creator/star Maria Bamford blazes her own trail with the show, mocking series formulas with alacrity.
Yet in one big way it’s as conventional as any three-camera sitcom.
The series’ first episode features a typically sprawling plot. One thread does get teased out, though. Bamford, playing a fictionalized version of herself recovering from a mental breakdown, agrees to do stand-up for pop star Mark McGrath’s charity, Open Arms.
What comic would turn down such a gig?
Only the charity in question … gasp … supports open carry legislation. Maria is aghast. But the show must go on, right?
Said “show” features a crowd straight out of Hollywood Central Casting, the Gun Nut Edition. Yahoos to the left of us, yahoos to the far right. Many are openly waving guns in their air. Others are firing them skyward.
Other charity attendees are wearing tea bags on their hats. They belong to the Tea Party, get it? One giveaway at the function is a gun from a company called Little Slaughters.
Bamford’s weak set is interrupted by comic Patton Oswalt, playing a cop. But, like everything else in the show, that isn’t set in stone. He keeps breaking character, like when he takes over for Maria and starts telling his own jokes to the crowd.
“I know you’re pissed off. I’ve been pissed off all day,” he tells the assembled pro-gun advocates. “The thing about being pissed off is, if you’re really pissed off, the joke’s probably on you,” says Oswalt, a reliably left-of-center star via his Twitter comments.
The forced sequence stalls an otherwise very funny – and promising – pilot episode. And it’s more of the same from an industry only too eager to take aim at the Second Amendment.
NOTE: Here’s Bamford’s recent appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (adult language)