I’m a little surprised to see that io9 has not posted a review of Hulu’s original show Deadbeat, about a medium, Pac (Tyler Labine — LOVE HIM), who has one friend (his drug dealer, Roofie, played by Brandon T. Jackson), no job, no money, and no life. To get by, Pac solves mysterious hauntings by talking with the dead and helping ghosts “move into their light”. He frequently runs into another medium, Camomile White (Cat Deeley), and her assistant Sue (Lucy DeVito).
This is how I got hooked onto Deadbeat: I recently canceled my cable package, so I was in a pretty dark place. I am missing out on Lost Girl, Elementary, Better Call Saul, GAME OF THRONES.... *sigh* But while searching through Hulu this past weekend, I found Deadbeat, starring one of my favorite people, Tyler Labine (you know him from Reaper and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil). So I watched the first episode, and then the second, and then the whole first season.
It’s weird, and campy, and has some surprisingly adult themes, and I loved it. The first season had some ups and downs — I laughed out loud for some episodes, but not all. There were even some surprise cameos, including Godfrey, Samantha Bee, and Jason Biggs (as a despicable fashion designer). There were some weird moments when I thought— “is this racist?” or “is this chauvinist?” but those are generally questions that run through my head when watching a new comedy show (I usually chalk up the first couple of offenses to growing pains — any more than that and it’s no longer funny to me).
And it seems as if others liked the first season, too — the second season debuted yesterday and, in addition to a higher production value, it’s full of amazing guest stars including Danny DeVito, Michael Ian Black, Finn Wittrock, and Fred Armisen. The second season is a TON of fun — I was laughing for every episode and was pleasantly surprised by the storylines and character development.
TL;DR: After binge-watching two seasons of Deadbeat in 2 days, I have decided to share the five reasons why I love this show.
- It’s campy in the best way. Yes, there’s a side-kick blob ghost named “Blob”. Yes, that’s a comedian from the 60s making “that’s my wife” jokes. And YES that’s Abraham Lincoln starring in a musical he wrote. Every episode has delightful gags , over-the-top characters, and colorful locations (the Marquis De Sade Elementary School and Fidelity Sperm United, the most secure sperm bank in North America, are some of my favorites).
- It’s delightfully absurd. The rules of normal TV don’t always apply — when a bag of body parts is left in a cab, he quickly recovers the bag after describing it to the cab company as “probably sopping wet with, like, a blood-colored liquid”. Y2K bunkers are still being used in Williamsburg. The Swedish mafia appears and Pac worries about Stockholm Syndrome. Deus ex machinas are everywhere and I love it.
- It’s totally self-aware. There were some great moments when I thought, “did he really just say that??” The show has running jokes (Oinky’s Hot Dogs, James McAvoy, the hit show “Felonies and Misdemeanors”) and often breaks the 4th wall by referencing product placement, TV (or lack of TV), and technology (loved: making fun of a Yelp reviewer with terrible taste named “Craigory”). It even spoofs other paranormal shows, like “Long Island Medium”.
- It has hilarious homages. If you love movies and TV, there are a lot of Easter eggs in this show. From Ocean Eleven to Good Will Hunting to “Grey’s Anatomy” references, this show has it covered. There’s a girl dressed up as the ghost from The Ring. A woman spins her head like Linda Blair. I swear there’s someone in the same costume as Seth Green from Can’t Hardly Wait. And was that really Joey Pants??
- All the characters are loveable. This show isn’t just a ridiculous stoner version of “Ghost Whisperer” with excellent commentary on the current state of culture — it’s all those things PLUS an amazing group of heartwarming, quirky characters. The relationships between the characters — even single-episode characters — carry the show forward (something you would expect from creators Brett Konner and Cody Heller, who wrote for the show “Wilfred”).
All-in-all, this is a solid 30-minute comedy that is thoughtful, funny, and heartfelt. I definitely enjoyed my 2-day binge-watch!
Has anyone else watched this show? What did you think??