Are you the type of person who loves to read Buzzfeed articles that are just semi-organised lists of Tumblr content? If so, Joel McHale’s new show is for you. Self-referential and entirely unenthused, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale compiles the worst television in the best way for the busy, modern consumer to enjoy all at once.
Featuring outtakes from such gems as Love and Hip Hop, The Bachelorette and even the home shopping channel, you’ll catch the most absurd moments from reality television with charmingly sarcastic commentary. McHale makes light of all sorts of drama but he is most blasé about his own show, which unabashedly pokes fun at its Netflix origins from the start with an “impromptu pre-filmed” tour of Netflix headquarters.
Too cool for the silly games and conspicuous plugs that other topical shows favour, McHale’s walk on guest stars become part of the action and use their upcoming releases as a cheeky footnote. Billy Eichner has an especially memorable appearance in the third episode ‘Dangerous Games’ when he comments on the ongoing conflict between Donnadorable and Joel McHale. Not to give any spoilers, but somewhere between poking fun at daytime TV drama and his hilarious sports segment McHale himself aggravated The Today Show’s Donnadorable who has had trouble booking guests on her web-only talk show. The ball is in her court and we can only guess at what she has planned next.
Another fun segment is McHale’s ‘International Corner’ where he explores television from around the globe. In the first episode he illustrates the terrible excesses of car crashes on Korean television. No character is safe and no clip is too dramatic or long to run on this show. It’s not funny at first but, as McHale assures his studio audience, it gets hilarious once you get used to it.
Loose formatting and fun cameos undermine the flow of the short episodes but ultimately add to the sense of unpretentiousness that facilitates this special brand of comedy. In an age oversaturated with information, McHale encourages his viewers to pause and consider the unstudied inanity in American television and beyond. Though it may be cheeky, his casual approach strikes the perfect tone for the coyly procrastinating student.
You might not need to know about the dating lives of vloggers or the nuances of American shopping channel shut-ins, but if you have twenty minutes, you might as well check it out. Joel McHale probably wouldn’t care either way.
Image: Joel McHale via Wikimedia Commons