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Two Raunchy, Tuneful, Independent Women

Sing it, sisters!
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Garfunkel & Oates


Throughout it's history, the Independent Film Channel has played remarkably close to it's mission statement established nearly twenty years earlier--- to show the most ambitious, entertaining, and uncensored independent films. Like so many other similar themed networks, it has strayed from that path a little more than I would like, showing some of the more studio run works of Tarentino and Christopher Nolan, and airing reruns of The Three Stooges and Batman.
One place, however, they have remained remarkably close to the spirit of the network is in their ventures into original programming--- mostly comedy. It's not much of a stretch to go from reruns of Mr. Show with Bob and Dave and Arrested Development to ribald sketch comedy like The Whitest Kids You know, Maron, and the recently Emmy nominated Portlandia. These show may fall well outside the boundaries of good taste or even the extremes of some films, but the one thing they are not is laugh-track sitcoms.
Which brings me to the subject of this review--- the comedy singing duo Garfunkel and Oates (actually Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhomme). A sensation on Youtube for their hysterically funny song parodies, my entire reason for wanting to see them was based on a single number performed during the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. Arguably the most entertaining awards show broadcast, they overran the awards shows usual musical parodies by satirizing the ideas of independent film by taking the darkest element of such brilliant movies as 50/50 and The Artist in a few simple lyrics that had me rolling on the floor. I watched some of their comedy bits on Comedy Central, but was never quite as won over. Still, when I learned that IFC was planning to give them a comedy series, I decided to give them a chance. I'm very glad I did.
In the vulgar tradition of latter day comics like Amy Schumer and the wonderful woman of Broad City, Kate and Riki, like so many other shows, plays variations of themselves, and they love making fun of themselves. In the pilot, Riki considered dating a fellow stand-up comic, and had a more than agreeable experience--- until an embarrassing incident occurred involving fellatio that can't be repeated on this site. Equally fun was Kate's audition for the role of 'Angry Slut' in an unnamed film with Ben Kingsley. (Yes, they got Ben Kingsley to play himself.) What made this episode really funny was how utterly without seriousness these women take themselves, as they demonstrated with two brilliant song parodies which alone made the Pilot worth watching. The second episode had them meet two porn actresses who had become famous for playing porn versions of them 'Garfinger and Butts' ('Rule 34': if it exists, there's a porn version of it). The women promptly got the porn version, and then showed us---probably accurately--- how normal woman watch porn (they fast-forward through the sex to get to the dialogue). They then had the misfortune of seeing their porn selves get more hits on Youtube for a number they did, get more attention on a Chris Hardwick webcast, and have to compete against them for a job on 'Pumpernickel Place' (you don't have to think that hard to guess what kid's show is being satirized). There, they were told to write a song to celebrate two character's gay marriage, and I must admit, even though it was a satirize, I found it had a lot more heart than so many of today's children's songs. (I even liked the puppet version of Garfunkel and Oates.)
In a world filled with shows of comedians playing satirized versions of themselves, this is easily one of the most original and entertaining. This is a well done and fun series that actually seems like it might have a future. I don't know what it'll take to make an IFC show a smash, but I hope the Youtube crowd comes along, because this one is fun.
My score: 4.25 stars.

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