Joe Stando is watching…
Broad City, Comedy Central
Season 2, Episode 1: “The Heat”
Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c
The best show on TV is back. Broad City, which follows fictionalized versions of comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer living in Brooklyn, possesses a specificity of voice, and a clever, rapid-fire sense of humor that sets it apart from not only other Comedy Central shows, but other comedies in general. The first season was a tight set of ten hilarious episodes, and this season’s premiere continues the streak. Abbi and Ilana’s search for an air conditioner unfolds in typical Broad City fashion, with plenty of false starts, wrong turns, and solid banter between the two leads. There’s a lot of solid gags with the supporting cast here too, and Hannibal Burress is fantastic as usual. My only real complaint is with Seth Rogen as Abbi’s new boyfriend, Male Stacey. Rogen has almost no comedic range, so it’s essentially a question of whether you like his affable stoner persona or not. I know that I used to, and I don’t know that there was a turning point, but he just didn’t click for me, and having a famous movie star in the episode hurt the show’s verisimilitude (such as it is) for me. Hopefully he won’t be around long. But other than that, Broad City continues to be in rare form.
Episode Highlight: Oh man, this episode is dense with great moments. The bit where they go to the college to get Ilana’s old air conditioner is hilarious, as is Abbi’s weirdly intense friendships with all Bed Bath & Beyond employees. In terms of sheer amount and quality of jokes, though, I have to go with the cold open, where their attempt to move from one end of the subway to the other demonstrated the comedic range of the show. Things are often heightened (a subway car filled with nothing but Hasidic Jewish men, the family eating a party sub and making pig noises) but the dynamics between Abbi and Ilana drive almost everything, keeping the show’s universe more grounded than, say, the fanciful bits of Louie.
Haley Winters is watching…
Eye Candy, MTV
Season 1, Episode 1: “K3U”
After nearly a decade of wallowing in reality television, MTV has finally decided to step it up. No, we’re not going back to music videos, much to the chagrin of weird MTV purists. (Really, who wants to sit in and watch music videos on a weeknight?) Instead, we’re rolling out the scripted dramas. MTV has been slowly getting its feet wet in this arena for the past few years, first with Teen Wolf, then Awkward, both of which have proven huge successes for the network. Now they’ve rolled out Eye Candy, a steamy psycho-thriller based on the book by R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame. Eye Candy stars Victoria Justice—who apparently has been graduated from Tween Sister Nickelodeon to Cool Older Cousin MTV—as Lindy, a hacker hottie who uses her skills to help find missing people. Well, this seems to be the plot for the first ten minutes. But when a friend signs her up for Flirtual, a Tinder look-a-like, Lindy is immediately targeted by a psychopathic serial killer hellbent on finding the perfect girl and willing to slit the throats of anyone in his way. You know, normal dating stuff.
In its first episode, Eye Candy manages three murders, five potential love interests, and little to no continuity. Lindy lives in a world where all cops are gorgeous 23-year-olds, the best club in the city is hidden behind a flower shop, and the best way to catch a killer is to date your way to him. But the show admittedly delivers some serious horror, with a surprisingly graphic element of gore. And for a show about a male serial killer stalking female victims, it has a surprisingly gleeful focus on objectifying the male form, as Lindy jumps from one studly stud to the next to reach her goals. Suspend your disbelief and your judgment of dumb things for an hour, and Eye Candy becomes a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
Episode Highlight: “This isn’t exactly fair. I’m virtually naked on a rooftop and you’re not,” says the hot cop, before they bang one out on a rooftop.
Kayleigh Hearn is watching…
Face Off, Syfy
Season 8, Episode 1: “Return of the Champions”
Tuesdays at 9
Face Off, Syfy’s competitive reality show dedicated to the creation of fantastic prosthetic makeup, is back for its eighth season. But this time, as countless reality show hosts have said before me, there’s a twist. This season is billed as “Return of the Champions,” and features Face Off vets Rayce, Anthony, and Laura as coaches for their respective teams of new contestants. Whoever wins the final challenge, their coach will win as well, making them the first double champion in Face Off history.
I’m a latecomer to Face Off who discovered the series in its sixth season, so I have no previous attachment to the returning champions—they’re as brand spanking new to me as the actual new contestants. It’s too early to gauge whether the champion coaches will prove to be a vital new component to the show’s formula, but it’s interesting to experience their makeup work for the first time. I have no clear favorites yet, and so far I’m simply content to watch the artists create a variety of colorful creatures within a ridiculously short span of time.
As fun as the show is, it suffers from unfortunate editing that makes the episode feel both overstuffed and cut too short. This really should have been a two-hour premiere, instead of a single hour—there’s fifteen contestants, plus the three coaches, which makes for an enormous cast. The camera quickly jumps from one artist to another, sometimes completely glossing over fantastic work. When the first Foundation Challenge features characters as eclectic as cyborgs, dancers, and Father Time, I want more than a few moments to admire their makeup before jumping along to the next challenge.
Many of the artists are still just faces in the crowd, but early standouts include Darla, whose Tim Burton-inspired ballerina wins the first Foundation Challenge, and Emily, who, at eighteen, is the youngest contestant in the show’s history. A few other artists are also completely adorable when they meet industry legend Rick Baker (and his gleaming white ponytail). Just when the show is heating up and introducing yet another twist, it abruptly ends, leaving the final creations, judging, winner, and elimination for the next week. Just imagine my face when the credits suddenly rolled by and some stupid show about street magic followed. Hopefully once the cast starts thinning out, Face Off can slow down and let us appreciate the makeup artistry that is the real star of the show.