“My god, you’re a grown man on a bike!” – Even as an avid cyclist, this line still made me immediately laugh.
With every comedy series, a natural development of chemistry among the cast must occur before the show will hit its stride. This can make for awkward pilots in this specific genre.
It’s why the first few episodes of most of my favorite comedy shows are almost always my least favorite. From The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm to Parks and Rec, there’s a certain level of character development that occurs early on that dictates the success of the show as a whole. For some reason, at least to me, comedy is the most susceptible to the troubled first season. I have had a far easier time immediately loving a drama or action series from the pilot forward, but it seems common for comedies to take their sweet time, sometimes I cut my losses, others pay off in a big way.
Difficult People’s first season wrestles with these same growing pains, something I have learned to expect, but quite honestly finds a great stride relatively quickly in the first few episodes. Certainly there are moments where it’s obvious that kinks are being ironed out, but for the most part the characters quickly find a functional rhythm, most importantly between stars Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner, a comedic duo that clearly works. I found myself immediately enjoying their shameless banter from the opening scene forward.
If you’re a Hulu subscriber, you have likely seen the trailer ad with stars Eichner and Klausner’s characters at a funeral, focused on nothing but themselves and their own trivial problems while the rest of the crowd looks on in disgust. This certainly sets a fair tone for the show, as while despite how quickly you end up liking their characters in context, they really are quite terrible people.
Difficult People is not for everyone, as the raunchy tone and offensive language and themes won’t be appreciated by all, but there’s certainly an audience for a show of this style. Comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia have seen massive success despite starring actors playing terrible people with no redeeming qualities whatsoever (ok Difficult People never goes that far, but still… you get the point).
With Amy Poehler producing, this is the first big push into original programming for the service that should bring Hulu’s original shows to the mainstream. With competition among the major streaming services heating up for streaming rights to original programming, shows like ‘Difficult People’ should see a high level of success, and would likely have done well through broadcast networks. But we’re happy to see this quality of show being released exclusively through a streaming service.
Without spoiling anything, the scene that won me over featured a very specific magician in a bar, when it suddenly hit me just how much potential ‘Difficult People’ has. The show’s tempo, quirky writing and solid delivery all make for an enjoyable new series, one that we highly recommend you check out come August 5th on Hulu.