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RUNNING TIME: 200 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Gag reel, documentary,
Season 2 preview
Aren’t industry satires funny? This one’s about
both the porn and indie film worlds!
Kathleen Robertson, Rob Deleeuw, Nicholas
Wright, Trevor Hayes.
Ok…technically, there isn’t actually a show called The Young Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Chronicles co-starring Artie Lange on the fall network schedules yet…but I can dream, can’t I?
A frustrated flunkie at IFC (Kathleen Robertson)
reaches the breaking point and takes a job as a producer for Vic’s Flicks, a Girls
Gone Wild-esque video outlet run by loutish fat guy Vic Morgenstein
(Rob Deleeuw) who wants to go legitimate with respectable theatrical films and
a new spiritual outlook on life. Despite his business being a cash cow, however,
he is forced by his new producer to get raise the capital for his new indie from
non-smut sources. On top of that, Vic has to cope with a useless and horny PR
guy, an artsy-fartsy young, hotshot director, a nutso Japanese in-law who
becomes an investor, an estranged teen daughter, a forced-upon-him ex-porno
star lead, and every other imaginable obstacle. Will Vic be able to overcome
all these obstacles and rediscover himself on his quest to become an Orthodox
Jew at the same time? Will I ever forgive the execs at IFC for making me find
out? Answers lie ahead.
"Oh my God…I thought you were one of the other 17 painfully unfunny supporting characters. Phew!"
The Business is typical for what
happens when a network that doesn’t produce a lot of original programming
decides to jump into that particular lake: They look at what everybody else is
doing well and ape that (Yeah, I know it kinda defeats the purpose of having “original”
shows in the first place, but let’s allow IFC to discover this little gem of wisdom
on their own time, OK?). In this case, The Business uses the same
handheld cam, improvisation-heavy template of other, much, much, much better shows
like Arrested Development and The Office, and
substitute hackneyed cartoons in place of actual characters and F-bomb-laden
sentences in place of jokes. Every episode starts with a very unfunny short
bit, and then goes right into the schticky klezmer theme song (sung by
Deleeuw). Then, it’s just a series of ridiculous gags about how badly they can
fuck up trying to make the “indie” horror film that will supposedly deliver
them respectability (only problem is, the film-within-the-show looks and is
marketed like a Tempe Video extravaganza, except much less cool-looking). Oh,
did I mention that segments are punctuated by scenes from the faux
drunk-girls-showing-their-tits videos? So if the jokes aren’t working for you,
get ready for a random blast of noise, beer, pseudo-lesbianism, and tits every
7 minutes or so (Miraculously, someone realized how lame this was a few
episodes in and scuttled that trademark).
The lack of breasts in this picture may confuse you given the "Breast Index" rating, but remember that it’s on a scale of 1 to 9,762. "1" being a photo of Frank Langella running at the camera from Lolita, of course…
the most entertaining thing the show offers is a chance to reverse engineer
these characters to their Arrested Development predecessors. If
you like Job, you’ll probably just be quite irritated with the Vic’s Flicks PR
guy Tony Russ (Trevor Hayes), who shamelessly lifts Will Arnett’s lecherous, insensitive,
deep-voiced moron schtick like he was David Coverdale and swore he had no idea
what a “Led Zeppelin” was. Roberston’s Kathleen Sullivan is the Michael Bluth/”Hey,
I’m sane on the outside, but not as superior to these weirdo supporting
characters as I like to think” analogue. Strains of Buster can be found in the
super-sensitive, nudity-fearing indie director. A George Michael clone is
introduced halfway through the season in the form of a young intern, and much
like young Bluth, he gets into trouble messing around with the oddly mature and
inappropriate teen daughter who fills Maeby’s shoes (Sadly, they’ve actually
roped in Alia Shawkat for a Season 2 appearance).
I’m probably making this show sound as fun as
waterboarding, and that’s not far from the truth. But in all fairness, there
are glimmers of genuine goodness in this mess. Deleeuw’s Vic is probably the
most fleshed out character of the bunch, and no matter how corny and pointlessly
profane his dialogue is, Deleeuw almost always makes it work with sterling
delivery, and hanging the show around him is one of the few things they got
right. There’s also a running gag with the pompous lead actor’s utter inability
to pronounce words correctly (His every utterance of “phobias” is golden) that
is used sparingly and effectively. Those dim bright spots aside, it’s mostly a
mess that just seems pathetic in how blatantly it tries to copy other shows. If
IFC is in the long haul for original programming, it’s best to write this off
as its Dream On or 1st & Ten and keep it
You get a jumbled documentary that continually
talks about what they plan to do “this season,” even though they haven’t
introduced any of the characters or talked about Season One yet. And then you get the “preview” of Season
two, which is basically a bunch of finished bits from new episodes that’s been
slapped together for this release.