I have to admit, I was a little worried for this season of Ugly Americans. The preview Comedy Central broadcasted was slow to the point of boredom, and the jokes just didn’t flow. Thankfully, the episode itself relieved all of my worries.
The first season of Ugly Americans was characterized by an endlessly inventive attention to detail. Notice the distinct and separately designed creatures that populace this alt-universe New York City. The characters are relateable, with more faults than strengths. The protagonist, Mark Lilly (Matt Oberg), is fairly bland, but every good comedy needs a straight man.
The premiere episode kicked things off with a bang. With a strong start like this, I’m excited to see where the show will go this season (and hopefully for a few more).
The Harry Potter caricature was the least funny bit in the episode, especially when paired with the “wizard of copyright infringement.” However, the storyline of Leonard (Randy Pearlstein) abandoning his charge rang true to his character, and the backstory involving the egg birth was grossly funny.
The episode was a tad disjointed, but the show’s easy, laidback style pervaded every scene. Small, subtle jokes are the show’s strongpoint, and the writers are never afraid of going for audience-friendly comedy. In today’s age of “awkward” non-humor and post-modern comedy, a show that’s willing to be both quirky and still mainstream accessible is refreshing.
The plot is simple. Callie (Natasha Leggero)and her father’s team of demons try to infiltrate Leonard’s wizard summit. They attempt to do so by engaging Mark’s help. For a series of sitcom reasons, this entails setting up a fake summer camp, which Mark is all too happy to lead. The 80’s summer camp movie references are marginally funny, but it’s not funny when characters repeatedly simply reference the genre of “80’s summer camp movies” instead of making a specific reference.
Callie and Mark’s relationship provided some tender scenes last season, but they seem to be on slightly different footing in this episode. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Also, Twayne Boneraper (Michael-Leon Wooley) seems like he may be losing his villain status and succumbing to the generic “strong man who’s actually a wimp” trope.
All in all, I enjoyed this episode. Ugly Americans has a unique voice, and I’m glad to hear it once again, once a week on Comedy Network