I finally, finally got to watch a comedy that I have been waiting for since I heard about the pilot this time last year. The Winner stars Rob Corddry as a 32 year old man man who is, ironically, a real loser who still lives with his parents, is a virgin and whose best friend is a teenage boy. Sounds hilarious, no? Then why was I so disappointed?
I pretend I watch a lot of The Daily Show, but I really don’t. It’s on at 8.30pm here in the UK, at which time I’m almost always doing something else with my life. So if I said to you that I was familiar with Rob Corddry’s work on the show I would be lying.
But I am aware of his cameos on Arrested Development, where he played law abiding pro-gun lobbyist actor/detective Frank Wrench. I’m too tired to explain his role, suffice to say his short time on screen was as funny as any of the other cameos in the shows short history. Although the more I say the actors of Arrested Development outside of that program, I realise how much of a part the writing played in making me laugh with and/or at them. I think Mitchell Hurwitz could train a monkey to deliver a deadpan line and it would crack me up.
Another thing that stood in this shows favour is that it was on Fox, which in the past has meant pushing the comedy boundaries, but I guess in recent times has meant uninspiring average sitcoms (Til Death, The War at Home, That Other Crap One).
So that kind of explains my anticipation of The Winner, but I think I hyped it up a bit too much in my mind, and my expectations were too high. There are aspects of this that remind me of Life on a Stick (remember that crap), most notably the hooting and hollering from the studio audience that accompanies every sexual reference. Fair enough the lead character is charmless and immature, but that doesn’t mean the script and acting has to be that way as well. Furthermore I wasn’t even expecting a studio audience, but I guess this being set in the 90’s, it’s not so out of place.
The plot of the pilot involves the lead character trying to lose his virginity, and his little buddy hoping to make out with a girl at his school that he thinks is interested in him. The trouble is, they both have their wires crossed, and ‘hilarity’ ensues. And by hilarity I mean condom jokes and double entendres.
The positives are that it is set in 1994, so I’m looking forward to lots of references from my childhood, and the fact that it was only a pilot, so much could have changed by the time the series premieres on Fox in March.
But as of now, The Winner is no better than the crap-coms that have become a staple of the Peter Ligouri Fox era. Click here to see Episode 1, prefaced by a short message from Seth McFarlane claiming it to be very funny. He’s lying, its about as funny as Family Guy. By the way, if you aren’t in the US, you will need to use a proxy server to make it work, if you can be bothered.