in Television

TV Review: IFC’s “Garfunkel and Oates” Pilot Full Of Promise

Following three comedy albums and an HBO Go web series, Riki “Garfunkel” Lindhome and Kate “Oates” Micucci have brought their musical comedy to IFC with a new eight-episode television series.

The number of female comedy duos on our screens are slowly but surely increasing (Broad City and Playing House both had excellent first seasons this year) but what Garfunkel and Oates has most drawn comparison to is Flight of the Conchords, with its musical elements and comedy revolving around the entertainment business. In the pilot Riki dates a comedian (and feels the burn when he then does a bit about her), while Kate has an audition as a “hot slut” (there’s no room for pride when her reel is already so hilariously terrible) opposite the Oscar winning Ben Kingsley who yes, really does turn up for the episode – and that’s enough reason to watch the pilot right there, I think.

So what’s good about Garfunkel and Oates? The songs are great, and it’s fun to see the satirized versions of Riki and Kate performing their comedy and hanging out at what appears to be their local comedy club. And I love that from the outset Riki’s depression is featured. I can’t remember the last time I saw a character so casually taking anti-depressants (that Kate brings to her after a date) and I’m glad to see it. I’m not sure where that plot is going – or if it’s meant to go anywhere besides adding to the list of Riki’s character traits – but it was refreshing to see.

But the best bits by far were the surrealists spots of humor that popped in and out of the episode. To calm her anxieties about talking to their agent, Riki tells Kate to imagine the man as a puppet, and for the rest of the episode (and hopefully the series) he appears as a muppet. But these bits, unfortunately, feel a little odd next to the real world wanderings of the pair as they date and audition around LA.

Garfunkel and Oates is nice, with some great bits of comedy that truly pop… But its mix of surrealism and stark reality do feel a little strangely put together right now. But this is the pilot. And that’s how pilots always feel: full of promise, diluted with confusion, and never ever fully satisfying.

Grade: B

Memorable Quotes

  • “My self esteem’s not low enough to date you – it’s close, but not quite there.”
  • “Why don’t you date a comic? They’re hot, they’re funny, they’re depressed like you!”
  • “Do you think I could be a hot slut?” “Yeah, totally!” “For a part in a movie?” “…Oh.”