So recently, I sat down, pulled up my trusty Netflix account, and decided to put on a show that I’d had my eye on for a while: Garfunkel and Oates.
For those who have never heard of Garfunkel and Oates (named after “the silver-medalists of two bands we really liked”), they are a musical comedy duo comprised of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who sing songs titled “Sex With Ducks”, “Handjob, Blandjob, I Don’t Understand Job”, and “The Loophole”, among others. The most obvious comparison one could use to describe them would be calling them the female Flight of the Conchords, but that really does them a disservice, as they definitely are their own unique comedy monster.
While the Flight of the Conchords might venture into surreal territory with songs about racist dragons or rhymenocerouses, Garfunkel and Oates focuses more on everyday issues that our society presents us with. Sometimes they sing about how to disengage from a relationship without actually ending things. Other times they will mock people who believe that allowing gay marriage will be the first step towards making bestiality OK. Then there’s the songs about getting older and how stupid we are in our youths. Needless to say, I’m a fan of their music.
So I felt bad when I saw that they had a show on Netflix that I hadn’t even heard about before! Much less a show that had completed its first season on TV before moving to Netflix! I had no idea it existed and was very excited to sit down and watch it.
And I gotta say, they did a really good job with it! I’m not going to lie, though, it was a little tough for me to make it through the first couple episodes. It’s often uncomfortable by design, and especially the first episode has some moments that are hard to make it through. However, powering your way through it is absolutely worth it. And it’s really not all that bad, just not great.
Again, I hate to draw the comparison to Flight of the Conchords, but it really is appropriate when it comes to the design of the show. The girls play versions of themselves, and the stories are often punctuated by songs/music videos that are relevant to the plot. However, again, it is still a totally different animal in that it is much more grounded than the Conchords and are often about everyday and more mundane things. That’s not to say that the show isn’t a little ridiculous and surreal sometimes. For example, in the very first episode Kate says that their agent makes her nervous and Riki advises her to picture him as a puppet. She does, and the audience sees that puppet (we never do see the actual agent). Also in the first episode, a cameo by Sir Ben Kingsley! I really wasn’t expecting that, but there he was!
I like how the girls aren’t struggling for work, they are already pretty successful, and the show focuses more on their relationships with each other and the people around them than their aspirations for fame and fortune. The only regulars on the show really are Kate and Riki, so it’s fortunate that their natural chemistry comes through on screen. If it were even a little flat, then the show wouldn’t work at all, but fortunately they are hilarious and play off each other very naturally.
Now, the show is still odd. I mean, Kate is basically what you would get if you had pure Zooey Deschanel extract on screen. Except you don’t get the feeling that she’s a real bitch underneath, you actually believe she’s a wonderful human being. I’m not the only one who gets that feeling about Zooey Deschanel, am I? Like, New Girl is a good show, but if I met her in real life I’d probably be like “Zooey Deschanel is a stuck up bitch”. But anyways, Kate is what Zooey wishes she could be.
There are some awesome guest appearances in the show like Natasha Legerro, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, Busy Philips, and Tig Notaro, amongst many more. They all show up and crush it, and when talent like that is paraded out, you know that the show has a comedy stamp of approval. Not that they couldn’t just show up for a paycheck, but I’m going with the former on this.
And as if I hadn’t gone on about the show enough, I have to mention how fantastic the music is. Most of it is straight up comedy and will cause some pee-pants with laughter (though “Sports Go Sports” drags on a bit too long, in my opinion), but there’s also a couple very touching songs they surprise you with, such as “The Rainbow Connection” and “Loser.” Those may cause a little eye-pee, and I love that they bust these songs out. These women are fucking versatile as shit!
So, the sad thing about all this is that the show was not renewed by IFC for a second season. I blame myself, really. Not that I get IFC, but if I had known about it, I could’ve saved it like I did Community. You’re welcome, by the way, Dan Harmon. But seriously, I really hope that everyone goes and watches this on Netflix and it gets on their radar as a possible new acquisition. It really was a great show, and 8 episodes is not nearly enough of these two women on television. I knew they were hilarious from their songs already, this just showed that they could crush it at writing and acting, too.
Even if it doesn’t come back somehow, this 8 episode run was really great and hilarious and nothing can diminish that. It’s just sad that it did the fade away on us so quickly.