There are two trends I’ve grown tired of in comedy. The first is a behind-the-scenes look at showbiz. The only people really interested in watching how Hollywood works are people who work in Hollywood and it just always feels self-indulgent. The second is stuff that only exists to make fun of something else. It’s easy to make jokes that say “that TV show is bad” or “that song is lame”, but it’s hard to come up with something original and funny own it’s own merits.
When I was assigned to review Son of a Pitch, a web series that combines both of my pet peeves, you can imagine I was well prepared to hate it. But guess what? I didn’t. In fact, I actually liked it a lot. Why? Because it’s very, very funny.
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The concept is simple — two jackass producers pitch terrible movie ideas to a movie studio executive — but the execution is what makes the show work. It could’ve easily went off the rails too. As a friend once said of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s ill-fated TV spoof That’s My Bush, “Sometimes when you set out to satirize bad sitcoms, you just end up making a bad sitcom.” But series creator Andy Mogren has avoided that trap. Everything from the writing to the acting to the editing hits the same pitch-perfect tone.
It all starts with the writing. The dumb movies being pitched all actually make smart comments on the state of the movie biz. Whether it’s how studios tend to just combine random elements that have been successful in the past (Bear Force One: “It’s like Snakes on a Plane, but with bears. And the President!”) or how they make plotless feel-good children’s movies (That’s My Kid: “This father and son have a great relationship… and that’s it!”), or how they try to do edgy remakes of old classics (Snow Way Out: Frosty the Snowman given the Dark Knight treatment).
After the pitch we get to see a trailer of the movie itself, which is usually the most fun part of each episode. As opposed to the solid production values of the series as a whole (especially the opening animation sequence), the trailers are shoddily made, badly acted, and often poorly green screened instead of using real locations. While some of this might have to do with real-life budgetary constraints, it really works in the context of the show. After all, what better way to present a terrible movie idea then, well… terribly? I only wish we got to see more of the jackass producers actually “acting” in their own trailers as that really helps with the lo-fi feel of their presentation.
The jackass producers in question are played by Mogren and John Lange and they pitch movie concepts like Swedish Treasure Hunting Sisters and Jaws 5: Fear in Fresh Water with such enthusiasm that you feel like they actually think they’ll be huge hits. Brian Corsetti plays the Dinosaur Pictures studio executive on the receiving end of this non-stop parade of awfulness, and he plays the straight man well, with a good mixture of eye-rolling and deep sighs.
New episodes of Son of a Pitch are released on Koldcast TV every Tuesday, and there are ten available to watch at the moment. Once you start, you’ll probably end up watching them all. Son of a Pitch is truly so bad, it’s good.