What We're Loving: Time Travel, Poor Translations, Classic Sitcoms, Barbie Sex

Rick and Morty Rick and Morty is the best show on television. There. I said it. Maybe that’s an overstatement, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s the only show that I actually look forward to watching each week. Rick and Morty airs on Cartoon Network weekly, or more importantly, the newest episode is released each week for free on YouTube, then falls behind a paywall when the new episode comes out. It follows the adventures of Rick (basically a drunker, angrier version of Doc Brown from Back to the Future) and his nephew Morty (basically a younger, borderline special needs Marty McFly with natural awkwardness that makes him shaky instead of Parkinsons) as they travel throughout space and time, procuring seeds from inter-dimensional beings, saving an amusement park inside someone’s body, traveling through someone’s dreams in a parody of Inception, or escaping a reality simulator within a simulator within a simulator on an alien spaceship. The show, co-created by Community mastermind Dan Harmon, is worth watching for Rick’s dialogue alone, but the show is so layered (especially for having a run time of just over 20 minutes) that you’ll only appreciate it more with multiple viewings, as I have. Like a lot of viewings. Like I may have a problem. Like I can’t speak more than six words without slipping into Rick’s drunk stuttering voice. “M-M-Mo-Mor-Morty-Morty…” RUNNER UP PICK FOR THIS WEEK: 12 Years a Slave. - Nick Scott

Tiny Fuppets

Scott Gairdner got a tv show greenlit! I know that at face value the previous sentence is one that no one, except myself and maybe Scott Gairdner’s parents would care about, but trust me when I say this is big comedy news.  The animated Comedy Central show will be known as Moonbeam City and is set to star the vocal talents of Rob Lowe, Will Forte, and Elizabeth Banks, among others.  But Gairdner is the real reason to check out this show.  Over the past few years, he’s written some great stuff for Funny or DieConan and created my favorite animated web series, Tiny Fuppets. Moonbeam City won’t come out for a while, so let’s pass the time by watching some of the adventures of Kormit, Gonzor, Animanuel, and Tummi.

I love these shorts because they combine absurdist humor and translation of a translation dialogue. You know you’ve gone to Google Translate before and just typed in random words only to see the truncated, harsh translation that comes in return. Only me? Okay, that’s cool, that’s probably why I account for about 40,000 of these videos 50,000 views.  Also, Tiny Fuppets is essentially a play off of Muppet Babies, which was perfect television and never should have been cancelled. Yes, I’m implying that a show about cartoon baby versions of puppets should’ve had a Simpsons-like 30-year run, but I can stand by that statement. - David Allison 

Larry Sanders

I recently watched the final episode of The Larry Sanders Show as research for a new comedy project. The Larry Sanders Show is a classic HBO comedy that aired from 1992 to 1998 that follows Larry Sanders (Garry Shandling), a late -night talk show host who has to deal with the stresses of running a show and the antics of his celebrity guests. I had never seen a single episode before. I wish I had. I wasn’t sure what to expect but based on the description I was given by a friend, I did anticipate tears. Commercials can make me cry, so a final episode of a beloved television show is guaranteed tears. What I didn’t expect is how much I would enjoy the show as a whole. It was hilarious, absurd, and touching. I was particularly drawn to Arthur (Rip Torn), the producer, and Hank (Jeffrey Tambor), the sidekick co-host. Arthur is an old pro who keeps all of his feelings about the end of the show to himself to stay strong for everyone else. He’s kind of what I strive to be emotionally. I freak out if someone knocks on my front door even though I know I ordered a pizza 20 minutes ago. Keeping calm is not really my forte. Hank, on the other hand, is more like what I am now. He just wants to say goodbye to the America he’s talked to for the past 10 years. He knows there’s probably not much demand in show business for a former late-night talk show co-host. All he asks is a small farewell of his own and a moment of recognition. Watching him not get it is crushing. He later blows up at Larry and Arthur, demonizing them for not letting him have his final moment in the sun. I loved him for that. I would have had the exact same reaction. His anger was mine anytime I've been irrationally angry at a friend, whether I’m in the wrong or right. Also, Jim Carrey kills a rendition of “And I Am Telling You.” This show is a little older so if you’ve already seen it, watch it again. If you’ve never seen it, let’s have a marathon together, I’ll order pizza. - Sarah Wyatt  

Elect H MouseNelly Reifler’s debut novel, Elect H. Mouse State Judge, is a twisted, surreal, fever dream of a noir story and the funniest thing I’ve read in months. On the eve of election for State Judge, the daughters of candidate H. Mouse go missing. Fearing public ridicule and certain loss at the polls if he turns to the police - after all, how can he handle the duties of State Judge if he cannot protect his own family? - H. Mouse turns to the only people who can help him, a pair of sex-obsessed detectives/bagmen/fixers named Ken and Barbie. Now, it is important to note that H. Mouse is really a mouse, and Ken and Barbie are really Ken and Barbie dolls and this whole story takes place in the landscape of 70’s toys and memories. Despite the presence of childhood toys and mice politicians, this is no children’s tale, no silly story, but a dark and serious exploration of what it means to be a father, what it means to be a family, and the compromises we make to hide our weakness and vulnerability from the world. There is terror, there is violence and there is a whole lot of graphic Ken and Barbie sex. The book is deeply moving, darkly funny, and, at 103 pages, the perfect single-sitting read. – Ryan Callahan