April will be an awesome month for fans of funny TV. Here’s an in-depth look at an intriguing trio of new spring shows featuring computer nerds, cold-blooded killers, and kissing girls:
“Silicon Valley” – April 6: HBO
“Silicon Valley” is in the very capable hands of Mike Judge, the mastermind behind “Office Space” and “Beavis and Butt-Head.” Now the man who made us laugh at morons is taking on the world of super-smart techies, and fans of “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Social Network” will definitely want to check out the socially-awkward geek squad that Judge has assembled.
Thomas Middleditch plays Richard, a soft-spoken programmer. He creates a compression algorithm that sparks a bidding war between two billionaires who offer him different choices: he can sell out and accept a large sum of money, or he can take a small sum and own a majority of the company. He decides to take the bumpier road.
Richard might be shy, but he’s not afraid to speak his mind. In the trailer, he informs his pal Erlich (T. J. Miller) that Steve Jobs was a poser who couldn’t even do code (too soon?).
Elrich is probably going to be the scene-stealer. A crappy idea makes him a millionaire, and he runs a “Hacker Hostel” in his house where programmers live for free while they try to find the next big thing. If they do, they owe Elrich 10 percent of whatever they create. In the trailer, he wears a shirt that reads, “I know H.T.M.L. (How to Meet Ladies).” If the geek squad’s encounter with a stripper is any indication of how they usually interact with the opposite sex, then he should be rocking pants that are on fire with that shirt
“Fargo” – April 15: FX
This 10-episode limited series looks so wonderfully weird that it just has to work.
The dark comedy is produced by the Coen brothers and based on their movie of the same name, but it features a new story and characters. However, if you watch the teasers, you’ll realize that many of the TV characters have movie counterparts. For example, Martin Freeman’s insurance salesman character looks just as nervous and terrified as William H. Macy’s car salesman character does after realizing that he’s gotten involved with the wrong people.
The wrong people on the FX show include Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo, a manipulative hit-man who carries a big knife. He has no qualms about whipping it out at a restaurant if his steak’s too tough. As one of the teasers shows, he also has no qualms about kidnapping someone and throwing them in the trunk of his car. Other criminals on the show include Russell Harvard’s “Mr. Wrench” and Adam Goldberg’s “Mr. Numbers.”
Kate Walsh’s character is a stripper-turned-trophy wife who has just lost her husband. However, she’s not very upset about it. Oliver Platt is playing “the Supermarket King of Minnesota,” and Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, and Allison Tolman are all playing cops who might be a little out of their element as they go up against the sinister characters terrorizing the town. The cast also includes Glenn Howertown’s “Don Chumph,” an ambitious personal trainer. “Key & Peele” stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will guest star as FBI agents who are after Malvo.
The teasers have the same darkly comedic tone as the movie. There’s frozen tundra, colorful townspeople who love to gossip, and criminals who don’t mind chopping a body into tiny pieces. However, this time they dispose of it with a chainsaw and an ice fishing hole instead of a wood chipper.
“Faking It” – April 22: MTV
This MTV original has a surprisingly intriguing premise. It’s about two high school pals named Amy (Rita Volk) and Karma (Katie Stevens) who mistakenly get “outted” as lesbians. Instead of denying that they’re gay, the girls decide to just go with it and pretend that they’re a couple. “Why?” you might ask. Because the lesbian label makes them popular, of course!
This show is definitely a sign of the times. Now it’s “in” to be out and proud and to be part of the tolerant crowd – at least in some circles.
It’s definitely true that gay bullying is still a huge problem, and there are going to be plenty of people who complain that “Faking It” is making light of a serious issue – after all, there are lots of kids who don’t attend accepting schools like Amy and Karma’s. However, it sounds like “Faking It” does a decent job of tastefully tackling its sensitive subject matter.
Showrunner Carter Covington told BuzzFeed that he was skeptical of the premise for the series when he was first approached by MTV. “As a gay man, I told the network I was offended by that idea,” he said. However, he realized that the show’s storyline isn’t so far-fetched after working on The Trevor Project’s crisis hotline. He heard gay kids complain about their sexuality being a novelty that made them a magnet for wannabe friends.
The trailer for “Faking It” sets its edgy tone with a “Teen Mom” joke. Poor Amy and Karma are so unpopular that they can’t even join that clique. Obviously pretending to be a lesbian makes it hard to date guys, and Karma almost blows their cover by getting caught smooching a member of the opposite sex.
There’s another interesting dynamic here; one of the girls does have secret feelings for the other. I’m guessing it’s Amy seeing as Karma kissed a guy and liked it. This means that Amy might really be in the closet even though everyone thinks she’s out of it.
Will you be checking out any of these refreshing and funny new TV series next month?
Photo Courtesy of Jaimie Trueblood/HBO
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