Monday, April 10, 2017

HBO TV Review: Crashing (2017)

Crashing (2017) - Created by Pete Holmes; Starring Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, Artie Lange, Sarah Silverman, T.J. Miller, Hannibal Burress, Gina Gershon, Vanessa Bayer.

By Kenny Howell

Before HBO's Crashing, my knowledge of Pete Holmes was in passing, as he popped up on podcasts or TV shows I occasionally watched.

In small doses, I always found him grating, railroading whatever he was on because he couldn't stand not getting a word in the conversation.

So when Crashing came out on HBO, I was a little hesitant. If I can't handle him in small doses, how could I handle an eight episode series? That's probably not fair to him, I have seen the guy just a handful of times, and I already have a made such a distinct, negative impression of him.

To my pleasant surprise, the character of Pete in the show that is pretty much about his life is endearing. He is a big goober, but you can't help but get behind him, especially with his silly little jokes that have a weird sort of charm to them.

Crashing begins with Pete finding out that his wife Jess is cheating on him with an art teacher named Leif. Pete has been chasing a dream of being a standup comic, and has left Jess seeking something more. That is the best and worst thing that could have happened to him, as he lost his wife, but now he has no reason to avoid chasing his dream. He then sets out to hit open mics all over the city, while crashing on standup comics' couches until he gets his feet under him.

Judd Apatow produced this and co-wrote some of the episodes, and you can see his hands all over it. He has always been able to find the emotional core of whatever he is working on, and he definitely does that with Crashing. Pete is kind of a puppy dog character, so you can't help but hope he finds what he needs. The special guest stars like Artie Lange, Sarah Silverman (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) and T.J. Miller (Deadpool) see that as well (also his talent), so they become conduits into Pete's journey. It's not Earth shattering TV by any means, but there is an inherent sweetness about it, which totally changed my impression of Holmes going forward, and made this show a pleasant surprise every week.

The entire first season of Crashing is now streaming on HBO Now or HBO Go.

Rating: ***

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