By Richard Reitzfeld
I don’t listen to podcasts generally, but I’m pretty sure that if I did, then this one would be my favorite. How Did This Get Made is, give or take, an hour-long show in which a group of three comedians (Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael), and generally a special guest, watch terrible movies and then systematically tear them to shreds scene by scene.
I must admit, spending a good four hours listening to How Did This Get Made did stir some hatred for the hosts deep within my bosom – but only because these brilliant bastards have turned my typical Saturday night (yup, I know. I’m super cool.) into an actual job. And they’re most definitely way better at it than I am.
My friends and I often hear of movies so obscenely terrible that one can’t help but question whether or not they were intended as self-aware parody. When these rotten tomatoes spring up – I guess that was a rottentomatoes.com joke? – and we finally get our hands on them, entire scenes of dialogue are often lost in the torrent of laughter and mockery that echoes off our living room walls.
How Did This Get Made takes that to the next level. I’m not sure if they all watch the movie together and shit on it in real-time and then talk about it again later once their jokes are more structured and refined, or if they watch it in isolation and take notes for future jokes before meeting to compare material, but either way, when they come together to discuss whatever film is at hand, it’s comedy gold.
I listened to several episodes of the series, but far and away my favorite two were the Super Mario Bros episode and the Birdemic: Shock and Terror episode. I’d be really hard pressed to pick which I liked more. With Super Mario Bros you’ve got one of the most colossal clusterfucks in the history of film-making in terms of what the film was initially supposed to be, what it had the potential to be, what it would end up being, what it really should have been all along, and how the actors felt through the process. And each and every one of those clusterfucks is hit on with perfection within the podcast.
However, the Birdemic: Shock and Terror episode is equally entertaining. Off the bat, the source material is more or less objectively worse than Super Mario Bros, which at least had the likes of Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper backing it up. Birdemic‘s sole saving grace is the ethereal Whitney Moore, and guess what, Moore fans? She is a guest on the episode! Along with the one and only Weird Al Yankovic. You can see why I’m torn, right?
Each and every scene from start to finish is completely picked apart and ridiculed – and each movie they pick is scene-for-scene worthy of ridicule. I have a lot more to listen to, but so far, I’ve yet to see a movie they review that has even the slightest of redeeming qualities. I wonder if the effectiveness of the show’s comedy on a whole is proportional to the crappiness of the film at hand? Like, if they reviewed an okay movie as opposed to a balls-out stupid one, would the jokes be less funny? I really don’t know. Probably not.
Either way, the premise of How Did This Get Made is wonderful – it’s just a group of friends sitting around and making fun of some mediocre-at-best art in hilarious fashion. And when you add the fact that each individual within said group of friends is an accomplished comedian, well, the thing pretty much sells itself. I know I am officially a fan.