is reportedly the best new sitcom of the year. Now, whether that says more about how shitty the rest of the selections are or potentially could be – Do Not Disturb being the former, Garry Unmarried the latter – than it does about the quality of Worst Week itself has yet to be seen. So here’s the pilot, a commendable attempt to bring good slapstick back to network television without turning into Benny Hill-type shenanigans, and to make the viewer cringe without making it too uncomfortable to bear.
Me, I’m not the biggest fan of cringe comedy. It’s very rare that anybody pulls off discomfort with enough humor to counteract it. That’s why Ricky Gervais’ two shows, The Office and Extras, are so good, because they infuse the comedy with drama without going to far, making it so relatable that you can’t help but root for his characters, despite all their problems. Worst Week is light enough in this sense to not be unbearable, but I can definitely see the show getting old very fast.
Kyle Bornheimer – all the critics were right: he is quite a comedic find and by far the best thing about the show – plays Sam Briggs, a young urban professional who is about to have the [show title] of his life. He and his girlfriend Melanie are going to be spending the week with her parents, all while trying to find the right way to inform them that Melanie is pregnant out of wedlock with Sam’s child. Of course, mayhem ensues, and in the pilot Sam managed to not only get vomited on (leading to the plastic diaper scene shown in all the promos and screen bugs), but accidentally piss on a cooked goose, give Dick – Melanie’s father – a concussion, mistakenly spread the word that Dick is dead, give him another concussion, and set a small fire to Dick’s portrait.
It’s all quite silly, and in certain hands would simply be obnoxious and just wrong, but so far it’s goofy without being cruel. It’s not mean like Meet the Parents, nor does it strive for too much forced conflict like as 2006-2007’s similar high-concept sitcom Big Day, which all took place on one particular wedding day where everything went wrong. (That show’s best feature? Swingtown’s Miriam Shor.)
I’m not sure if I can handle so much chaos week after week, but I trust show creator Matt Tarses (a writer/producer on and Scrubs) enough to give him the assumed 13 episodes.
Worst Week started off incredibly slowly. So slowly, in fact, that I felt it necessary to write down the first thing that made me laugh, the way a new parent writes down baby’s first smile or first word or something. Here’s what made me laugh, about 18 minutes in: Mel joking that she once pooped in a laundry room.
I had three laughs after that. I found the performance of the mortician who shows Sam the body to be totally hilarious. That actor, Aziz Ansari, shall always be known as “the third of Human Giant that’s not or .” I also laughed at Sam’s awkward phone call to Mel’s brother in Africa that ended in him screaming, “He’s dead! Your dad is dead! He died!” Something about Bornheimer’s delivery of that was just spot on. Finally, I laughed at Sam dragging the non-dead Dick’s body through the foyer.
Up until Mel ( than I do on this show) broke my laugh silence, I mostly was just sad for Sam. Television does not have to be grounded in reality, but I find it incredibly difficult to believe that someone can have so many horrible things happen to him in one day. I have a feeling that this will become incredibly old by the time the season is over. If my laugh count goes up next week, I’ll keep it. If it goes down, I’m done., whom I liked much better on