Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! – Season Three

Until I received the DVD for Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! in the mail, I’d never seen the sketch show. I can’t say that watching it will make me add the [adult swim] show to my DVR, but if you’re a Monty Python or Kids in the Hall fan, you might enjoy this as a better-than-average stand-in. Being odd for oddness’ sake (oddity’s sake? oddnifierous’ sake?) is not always funny. It can be funny, but sometimes it’s just lame and uncomfortable. Believe me, I know. Fortunately, Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job! is generally more funny than not funny. Generally.

The Tim and Eric of the title are creators/writers/directors/stars Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. While the sketches are often somewhat random, they mostly pay homage to low-budget commercials, 1970’s independent television station programming, cable-access talk shows, and an excessive use of video tricks straight out of mid-1980’s porn. Many of the sketches are shows and commercials for “Channel 5,” which brings you talk shows dedicated to zits and burping, swing-dancing lessons, and commercials for products made by Cinco, including a cell phone that can’t receive incoming calls and leaves a burn mark on your face.

The material itself would be funny, but when the intentionally cheap production values and dead-faced acting are added, it can be nirvana for those – like me – who watched a lot of television in the early days of cable. It’s not easy to tell if Tim, Eric, and their supporting players are excellent at portraying incompetent television personalities or if this is a cosmic meeting of premise and performers. Probably more the latter, as no one could be as bad as these guys sometimes seem. When this stuff works, it works very, very well, and it’s both hilarious and surprising that something seemingly so simplistic is so hilarious.

Although much of the material in each episode (which run a brief 11 minutes) is the “Channel 5” material, Tim and Eric also do some traditional sketch-comedy shtick. This isn’t as successful, typically. A lot of time in one episode is spent on the duo being cops on recumbent bikes, which isn’t that great, and practically a whole episode is spent on a character called Spagett, played by Tim, getting a movie opportunity with Steve Spielberg, while Eric is left behind. Unlike the “Channel 5” material, this type of comedy is being done just as well or better on places like SNL.

Tim and Eric get the lion’s share of the screen time, but they seem to have an endless stream of friends willing to show up for a few minutes. John C. Reilly has a recurring role as a somewhat brain-damaged “Channel 5” personality named Dr. Steve Brule who is, naturally, hilarious as he gives advice in little “the more you know” type PSAs or helps sell a Panini maker that uses horse grease. The Hangover’s Zack Galifianiakis, Will Forte, Bill Heder, Ray Wise, Weird Al Yankovic, Rainn Wilson, and Bob Odenkirk all make at least one appearance during the season, and Wise’s commercials about appropriate business hugs are both funny and creepy.

This is sketch comedy, and while Tim and Eric can’t seem to get the plain old sketches down, they have the market locked up on fake commercials and talk shows about zits. It’s worth checking this out just to feel nostalgia for the production values, and you get to watch some really funny stuff along the way. The entire third season of Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job!, plus extras, fits on one disc. The show only runs 11 minutes (minus commercials) on [adult swim], and the season has 10 episodes. In effect, it can be knocked out in the time it takes to watch a feature film.

I was actually expecting a lot of weird stuff among the extras, but they are actually pretty straightforward. The disc includes about 20 minutes of deleted scenes. The interesting thing is that, because this is basically a sketch show, the deleted scenes can be watched pretty much like any episode – just random, funny things strung together with little or no connection between them. It’s likely they were cut for time, and they are generally as funny as anything in the actual episodes.

While not a deleted scene, there is also an extended version of the episode “Muscles for Bones,” about a benefit to get bones for Richard Dunn, one of the show’s characters. While the broadcast episode was 11 minutes, this one is twice as long and contains more of the benefit material. Dunn is also the focus of “Getting it Dunn.” It’s a cable-access spoof with Dunn, an old man who often looks like he has no idea what’s going on. In this particular show, he’s interviewing his girlfriend, who must be at least 50 years younger than him. It’s funny, although too many of these fake talk shows with Dunn would probably be more irritating than funny.

Finally, there is a seven-minute blooper reel. This is funny mostly because instead of showing bloopers from the filming – although they do throw in some of those – the reel is mostly people behind the scenes cracking up at what is being filmed. Sometimes, their laughter doesn’t seem warranted by what is being filmed, but they really like it.

For a one-disc set, this is a decent set of extras. Not sure why Tim and Eric didn’t throw in a commentary track, as they could have knocked it out in two hours, but still. If you’re a Tim and Eric fan, you certainly can’t complain about the deleted scenes, talk show, and extended episode, which combined make about three extra episodes. This is worth picking up if you enjoy the [adult swim] show, or at least renting if you’re a sketch comedy fan.