We are looking at 'The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season’.
Much like his involvement with Tim and Eric in the early days, Bob Odenkirk is ever present throughout much of this first season. It is almost as if he is there to hold the troupe's collective hand with a many of these sketches. Now, that isn't a problem at all because he is very funny and is a real asset. In future seasons, it will be interesting to see if he remains as involved or if he will fade into the background a little more.
Perhaps it was a matter of not being familiar/invested in the group, but the first few episodes were extremely hit and miss. Not bad enough to make me stop watching (clearly) but lacking a sketch or theme that really stood out.
Then something happened. About the halfway point in the season, there was an episode that not only seemed to connect, it knocked it out of the park. From that point on, the show just seemed to be stronger, the sketches more consistent. It was as if the group was figuring it out as they went and reached a point where they solved the puzzle. Just as likely, though, this Examiner's brain caught up to what the troupe was doing. A repeat viewing could add some clarity.
It comes with the territory in a large comedy troupe that the individual players are a little tough to identify, in hindsight. This being my first exposure to the group, the seven demographically similar men (eight, if you count Odenkirk, but we all know him) often seemed interchangeable. After awhile, Tim Kalpakis began to emerge from the bunch as did Mike Mitchell. Only time will tell about the rest of them.
Also helping matters is the assortment of comedy giants who lend their talent throughout the season. Keep an eye out.
Special features include: audio commentary, a making of featurette, a look at taking the show from stage to screen, bonus videos and some promos.
Just like all sketch comedy shows, especially ones that are starting out, there are some brilliant, inspired sketches and some that don't really work. It can be a numbers game. The more sketches that are produced, the greater the likelihood the group will discover their identity and play to their strengths.
All the same, this isn’t a bad start at all.
Not Rated 230 Minutes 2014