Deadshirt Is Watching… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows.
This week: Check It Out! With Doctor Steve Brule, Game of Thrones and Feed the Beast!
Max Robinson is watching…
Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
Season 4, Episode 1 “Cars”
Trying to formally quantify the Tim & Eric subgenre of weird trip out comedy is a waste of time. But at the risk of sounding like the AV Club’s pretentious Bob’s Burgers recaps, I’m going to try and explain how “Cars” is pretty much the platonic ideal of a Check It Out! episode.
“Cars” is a killer Steve Brule installment because it takes something simple (Steve’s childlike desire to own a car) and builds a 15 minute nightmare scenario around it. Notably, the episode plays off the semi-coherent continuity of Check It Out!/Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! in little ways that make Steve’s crashing failure especially fun to watch. Best of all, “Cars” slowly builds from a bunch of small little jokes into one big violent joke that’s probably one of the show’s best punchlines. Heidecker and Wareheim’s signature blend of lo-fi stoner horrorcore comedy isn’t for everyone, but if it is, you’re going to watch this one like five times.
The entire joke behind Check It Out! is that Steve can never win and “Cars” gifts us with John C. Reilly crying and smashing a toy model Ford like a vengeful baby god.
Andrew Niemann is watching…
Game of Thrones
Season 6, Episode 9 “Battle of the Bastards”
Whew! The sixth season of HBO’s long running adaptation Game of Thrones has gotten overall mixed reactions from some, but none can argue that it hasn’t given us one of the best episodes in the entire show in “Battle of the Bastards.” It is certainly THE MOST THRONES episode we’ve gotten in a long time, arguably since the battle of Hardhome from last year. The episode starts in the midst of a battle in Meereen where Daenerys Targaryen had just returned with her khalasar and three large fire-breathing dragons who began destroying the slave masters who have begun to ransack and slaughter its civilians. Dany has really come into her own this season as a ruthless leader of men and women and her meetings with Tyrion about showing patience and diplomacy are incredibly understated and amazing to watch.
The real bulk of this episode is the titular Battle of the Bastards itself with Jon Snow finally squaring off against his evil counterpart, Ramsay. The cinematography plays with how different these two men are, with Jon fighting amongst the corpses on the battlefield, even nearly being buried in the bloody filth and grime, while Ramsay, cowardly, sits on a horse far from the battlefield. Ramsay was a tough-to-swallow character that reached his foregone conclusion some seasons back and the proverbial cherry on top was Sansa, his last torture victim, getting the last smile while he received his just end. The action in this episode is cinematically stunning, full of frenetic tracking shots and coarse yet beautiful imagery. Jon Snow is “reborn” from a mass of writhing bodies. A giant is given a heartfelt yet cruel send-off. Davos stands in the sunset beside a funeral pyre confirming his worst fears. This show rarely gives satisfaction, but when it does, it seems as if the long night won’t ever come.
In an episode chock full of great moments, I have to give it up to Yara Greyjoy for hitting on Dany without batting an eye. The Khaleesi seemed incredibly flattered by the offer and well now I definitely ship it.
Joe Stando is watching…
Feed the Beast
Season 1, Episode 3 “Screw You, Randy”
In my initial review of Feed the Beast, I stated that I liked the light, flashy parts of the show, and the more it leaned into that, as well as utilizing Schwimmer, the better off it would be. Two episodes later, and it’s not really in decline, but they still haven’t hit that magic balance of dramatic work from Schwimmer and flash from Sturgess, instead trying to give the latter some depth where he clearly cannot handle it. The episode is largely fine; John Doman is having a blast as Tommy’s racist, double-dealing father, and the bits of interplay between him and TJ that we get are surprisingly promising, for what feels like an obligatory storyline.
My real issue with the episode is Dion’s complete lack of remorse or regret over robbing Tommy’s old boss’s wine warehouse, which put the security guard in the hospital. A show like this is necessarily going to play with moral ambiguity (this is the network that gave us Don Draper and Walter White, after all), but Dion comes across as childish and sociopathic in equal measures, and Sturgess’s bad-boy charm can’t really save him. I’m still following the show, but during a more competitive TV season, it might have lost me already.
Doman’s aforementioned performance is great, and Lorena Izzo is fun as Pilar, even if a lot of her role is someone for the boys to mansplain to. But Feed the Beast‘s best elements for me are still when they nail the dynamic of restaurant work, and nothing did that better in this episode than Dion calling up his old crew of kitchen coworkers. Restaurant kitchens are a community where everyone knows everyone and everyone goes way back, and Dion immediately calling up his old buddies and promising them lavish gigs felt very real. Even moreso was the makeup of his team, a mix of rough around the edges countercultural types and first generation children of immigrants. Outside of celebrity chefs, most folks don’t get into the business to get rich, and these characters felt like folks I’ve actually worked with.
That’s what we’ve been watching this week. What are you tuned into? Let us know in the comments, post on our Facebook page, or tweet us @DeadshirtDotNet!