Weird City (Season 1), 2019
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Weird City tries to adopt meta-analysis/humour into its own, well, weirdness and instead ends up falling flat on its face at the discomfort of its own overbearing ideas and cogested canon.
It's not that the anthology doesn't have the right template, it's only that it tries to defy the material from which it adapts to self-righteously and insurmountably comment on social and cultural norms today.
Instead of reeling us in with the type of silly and funny we'd expect from a capsule project that boasts comedic talent such as Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders, the show instead overtly lives up to its uncontained title.
Don't get me wrong, Weird City sporadically has gleaming moments, where I imagine everyone who has watched subconsciously noting how it could've been the direction the show would've taken if this were wholly Jordan's show to run.
The tons of executive producers on the show, along with the writers and directors, evidently had a lot to do with the direction the show has taken. Resulting in a very dissapointing effort by the Monkeypaw/YouTube Premium team-up.
The first episode manages to ruin fangirl-royalty, the beloved Dylan O'Brien as both a heartthrob and a capable actor outside of his usual girl-fantasy roles like the Maze Runners. It similarly decimates (Modern Family's) Ed O'Neill's ability to expand his range outside of the highly annoying, agitated senior.
The episode itself, though trying to defy social norms, is cringeworthy. Out of nowhere two guys, a much older and young pairing, are brought together by an algorithm, a la Black Mirror: Hang the DJ, and run with a romcom format where the audience is supposed to cheer on the odd coupling. Except here the couple is very, very odd and has nothing to support its existence. I'm still trying to unscrew my face from all the cringing.
This would've been sweet commentary had the writing lived up to an idea that I imagine was mesmerising on paper. In fact, were this a stand-alone episode in a show like BoJack Horseman, with a little bit of meta-incentiveness sprinkled into the writing, it would've worked. But this opening episode ends up feeling like a bad rash that warns you from the rest of the unbearably warped series of events.
If you're able to make Michael Cera both unfunny and insufferable then you deserve nothing but vain, perforated attempts at a comic opera thereafter. This is exactly what episode 2 forecasts for the blackhole mess that makes up the rest of the show.
Here we follow an asshole Michael Cera who does nothing but be a boring, well, asshole. Sure, this can be traced back to what we love about the dude, until the very moment they overdo it and don't know how to compensate this with the humour that we expect and keep hoping for that never comes.
After this episode, the rest of the show becomes a hopeless vessel of what could've been had this anthology been afforded the right creative minds to mold it into the comedic Black Mirror we, I soon realised, actually need right now.
I'm not sure how a 30min long each, 6-episode show packed with such big names and creative talent on its roster managed to be so, so awful, but it undoubtedly is. I'd opt to watch a trainwreck over and over again than to have set through the entire season of the painful, unintelligent weirdness of Weird City.
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