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How 'It's Always Sunny' Turned Inward to Get Even Crazier

The gang of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia just wrapped their 9th season and their first as the flagship of the new cable channel, FXX. Recently, Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker wrote a generous and insightful piece that echoed much of the grassroots sentiment surrounding the show: It's Always Sunny has been a woefully overlooked part of the Golden Age of TV. While the stellar 9th season continued with the same hilarity and absurdity of the previous seasons, it also felt different in ways that signal, perhaps, the swan song of the gang. READ MORE

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The Understated, Absurd Comedy of 'Nathan for You'

Comedy Central’s new show, Nathan For You, has almost totally flown under our cultural radar. It received few reviews, and no review from a popular outlet. This is a mistake not only because the show is consistently funny and intelligent, but because it features a type of comedy rare these days: a sort of absurdist, incoherent, and mundane humor that actually works. In a sense, I'd describe this as pure comedy with no ulterior or secondary motives besides getting a laugh. Humor, even if we like to think otherwise, most often works within an ulterior purpose or function. Some find humor insightful, others wise, cathartic or satirical, and others see humor as highlighting unspoken aspects of life. (Even the show about nothing, Seinfeld, doubled as perceptive and brilliant depictions of people.) Nathan For You is just funny, bafflingly so, and accomplishes nothing else. This is a good thing.

The sketches might follow a similar pattern, i.e. helping a small business with a dismal business proposal (poo-flavored frozen yogurt…), but even then, Fielder breaks that pattern as often as he uses it. His conceit of satirizing small business in America is both illuminating yet obvious. He highlights some of the absurdities of small businesses, the delusions of money and fame, but it never reaches the point of social commentary. The structure of the show invites some thought, but the thought is never rewarded with analysis. Moreover, as a viewer, I always find myself laughing, but laughing in a confused manner. Watching the show, and rewatching the sketches, I still don’t fully know how to classify this type of humor. Fielder could be compared to Borat and Tom Green, but importantly differs from both. His targets are often middle class or lower middle class workers, not the best target for any sort of satire, and in each sketch it remains uncertain if these jokes are being made at someone’s expense, and if so, whose. Sometimes this atonal quality emerges from the natural flow of the sketches themselves, and sometimes, Fielder will bombard a sketch with so many different tonal elements (sincerity, cynicism, satire, slapstick) as to purposely confuse the viewer. READ MORE

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Talking to the 'Workaholics' Guys About Writing Smartly for Dumb Characters, Catchphrases, and Who Would Win in a Fight

Contrary to what you might think, it takes a lot of talent to portray idiocy. It takes genius to do so week in and week out on one of the funniest shows on TV. The guys behind Workaholics, a team of four best friends, created, write, direct, produce, and star in the hit show on Comedy Central which is returning tonight for the second half of its third season. The show has just been picked up for a 4th and 5th season, so expect the idiocy to continue for quite some time. Here, we sit down with the gang and talk to them about their history, the show, and what we can expect in the coming seasons.

Kyle and Blake, how did you guys meet?

Blake: We first met each other in 3rd grade. We wrote comic books together called the Funyun Protectors. It was about Funyun the chip.

Kyle: We would write it, and I would draw it. We would come up with stories about basically giant Funyuns with a ring of power, kind of like the stone protectors.

What were the big plots?

Kyle: Well there were two main bad guys, fungus and moldy cheese. That’s all I can remember.

And despite everything you guys remained friends till now?

Blake: Well, actually lovers and friends.

Kyle: Brothers and friends and mothers, and lovers. READ MORE