Craig and the Werewolf

If there’s one thing to be said about Craig & the Werewolf, it’s that it doesn’t beat around the bush with its premise. Three seconds into the first episode, we see Craig’s roommate gnawing on a bloody, severed hand. Five seconds later, Craig enters the apartment, freaks out, and demands to know what’s going on. Six seconds after that, we get the quasi-apologetic answer: “Sorry, I totally forgot to tell you! I’m a werewolf.”

As with many other web series out there (Real Life with Married People, for instance), Absolute Disaster‘s Craig & the Werewolf relies upon brevity of content to create a tight, fluff-free product. However, again as with many other web series out there, this show is also frequently a victim of its own attempts at streamlining.

Craig and the WerewolfHere’s what makes Craig & the Werewolf fun to watch: it takes the classic “frustrating roommate” scenario and puts a bizarre, fantastical twist to it. This formula frequently results in burst-out-laughing gems (Craig’s rationale for not moving out is that he’s not willing to lose the deposit on his year-long lease), and the witty writing is bolstered by the punchy timing and interplay of the two leads (Brett Register and Craig Frank – creator and star of another online comedy series, The Crew).

The episodes are funny, concise, and entertaining, and in themselves don’t lack anything that one should expect from a short-form comedy on the internet.

Instead, the series’ difficulties arise when one peruses the show as a whole – there are simply too many new story arcs being introduced over too few episodes, and it feels as though the show keeps zipping from plot point to plot point without stopping to settle into any one scenario.

The first two episodes are extremely promising. In the first, Craig learns that his roommate is a werewolf and goes through the various stages of freaked-out denial. In the second, Craig awakes in the middle of the night to find his roommate watching him sleep, which is A) already creepy because it violates the “bro code,” and B) really creepy considering that his roommate eats people.

It seems like this sort of dynamic could successfully go on for a while, right? People would happily watch another ten or twenty episodes focusing on Craig and his adjustment to his horrifying-yet-hilarious living conditions. After all, the show is called Craig & the Werewolf.

Then comes the game-changer: Craig drinks from the open milk carton in the fridge and “catches” whatever turns one into a werewolf. It’s a smart, clever direction for the plot to take, but one that comes much too soon and feels off-putting for an audience that’s still getting used to the original personality of the show. And it doesn’t stop there.

After another episode featuring Craig trying to tactfully separate his girlfriend from his newfound desire to consume human flesh, the audience gets hit with another bombshell: Craig’s girlfriend is a vampire. These twists and turns should turn the audience’s world upside down, but instead one simply feels too dis-invested in the characters and too confused by plot to be much affected.

Still, the show features enough quick wit and chemistry to make it a solid, enjoyable find. What’s more, Craig & the Werewolf can very easily make the jump from “enjoyable” to “home run” once it gives itself some breathing room with which to savor its own cleverness. Until then, followers of the show may continue to feel much as Craig does: taken aback, overwhelmed, and worried that things are changing entirely too quickly for their liking.

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