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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Comedy Series ‘Crashing’ is a Barrel of Laughs

After four episodes, HBO decided that the TV series “Crashing” was good enough to warrant a second season, and I’m glad they did. Starring the ever-lovable Pete Holmes, who the show itself is loosely based on, “Crashing” follows a promising up-and-coming comedian who’s trying to get his life back on track after an unexpected divorce.

“Crashing” is incredibly endearing, and one can’t help but feel sympathetic for Holmes’ character. If you are familiar with his stand-up comedy, you’ll be a fan right away. Even if you aren’t, Holmes’ style of comedy blended with Judd Apatow’s sense of storytelling will reel you in.

The show’s title refers to Holmes’ character “crashing” on other people’s couches, as he is temporarily homeless after his divorce. The writing isn’t entirely based on Holmes’ life, however; other comedians also consult the show, sharing stories about their own open mic days before making it big. This often leads to the main character Pete going through tragic yet darkly funny moments that are depicted in a way that’s meant to be realistic.   

This style of comedy writing isn’t anything new; shows like “Insecure,” “Casual,” and “Master of None” have been presenting hilarious characters whom we can experience the downs of life with, all through the lenses of comedy. It is Holmes’ acting and material that separates “Crashing” from its contemporaries; I genuinely feel joy when Holmes finds a semblance of success. On the flipside, I feel real anxiety for him as well, and the series is filled with moments you wish you could avoid watching, but can’t. You want to find out how Pete will react, because you know the writing won’t bail him out, and he’ll actually have to face consequences.

Even though the series follows one main character, episodes are filled with meaningful contributors like Artie Lange, T.J. Miller, and Sarah Silverman, who all in their own ways take the roles of momentary landlords and mentors in Holmes’ adventures. The show doesn’t rely on them, but their personas and improvisational skills provide a change of pace that is more than welcome. The show also features lesser-known comedians like Dov Davidoff, who fits his acting role surprisingly well.

The series is only eight episodes long so far, and each one runs roughly around 30 minutes. This makes it the perfect show to binge through without having to put up too heavy of a commitment. The series is continuous, so watching episodes in order is highly recommended in order to understand and appreciate the ingenious moments in the episodes.

The final episode of the first season airs on April 9, and the second season has not yet begun filming. It is currently unclear if Artie Lange will return in season two, but it is likely he will. And like other HBO shows, some episodes are followed by a behind-the-episode look. These segments provide a nice history behind the show, and feature Holmes, Apatow, and other writers as they remark on what inspired certain scenes.
If you have an interest in the comedy scene, or love watching people experience cringe-inducing moments, I highly recommend “Crashing.” Holmes’ character is an exemplary example of the ordinary guy just trying to be happy, and it’s extremely tough to not root for him.