In what should lead up to a super-filled double whammy two-in-one review, I just recently watched two seasons of Deadbeat and thought it prudent to share some thoughts on the show. Maybe I hyped that too much. Lemme go back. There will be a review of two seasons of sitcom programming. I promise nothing more.
Rather than go over the entire plot and particulars of each episode, I’ll play it a little more loose. The show stars Tyler Labine as Kevin, a slacker stoner who happens to be able to see and communicate with dead people. These dead folks haven’t moved “into their light” as there is some unfinished business keeping them in our plane of existence that needs to be taken care of first. That fills up some of the plot where the rest shows highlights of Kevin poorly fumbling through life. He falls in love with another “medium” in the first episode who turns out to be a fraud and she is quickly developed as the antagonist moving forward. Apparently she’s a judge on the UK So You Think You Can Dance program, but that’s only because IMDb told me. Kevin’s best friend is portrayed by Brandon T. Jackson and his role is that of the token black friend. I didn’t even remember his name and (again) used IMDb to ascertain that it’s (insert eye rolling) Roofie. Lucy Devito’s daughter is a regular on the show as well but she’s kind of mousy and maybe even feeble.
A highlight of the show is Michael Ian Black playing Kevin’s adoptive father and the subsequent backstory that they were both at the same orphanage and Black’s character adopts Kevin to continue the torturous rhetoric for the rest of their lives. Black is a comedian that has a surprisingly large body of cameo and one-off work. James Franco (unsurprisingly) shows up in a cameo role as a serial flasher and Danny Devito plays an ex-cult leader. The keen eye will spot Joe Pantoliano in one episode for no reason other than the fact that he’s Joe Pantoliano and Zachary Levi plays a ghostly Abe Lincoln in one of the weirder episodes.
The show doesn’t pretend to be anything amazing or life-altering. It plays out exactly how one would think a stoner-who-sees-ghosts story would go down. The dialogue is fun (in a cluttered moment, a frustrated Kevin yells “fuckity fuck fuck fart!” which is pure gold in my tasteless book) and as silly as one can expect. If I recall, the first season bleeped out any fucks, but season two did away with the censorship. I don’t know if this was an active choice but there will always be something special about a well-placed “BLEEPing BLEEP” (refer to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson for proof). The show is a Hulu Original which means that a network called Hulu (not unlike Netflix) hosts it. It was created by the creator of The Inbetweeners, a cheeky English show about four high school chums trying to get pussy. This is obviously upper-class material we’re dealing with.
All in all, it’s a stoner comedy with some fantastical ghost silliness interspersed. Will it win awards? So long as 19 Kids And Counting is still on the air, I doubt it. I honestly didn’t tune in for some amazing life-altering Joel Osteen-type content. I like tuning in and turning off sometimes and this show achieves that in spades. The second season lost a bit of the magic the first season had (that shiny new car thing) but it was still pretty great and I’m sure I’ll tune in should a third season occur. Maybe I have low expectations to begin with when it comes to shows like this but I’m rarely let down because of it. Didn’t love it but surely liked it. Hopefully Deadbeat gains some more traction because I feel like Tyler Labine has constantly been just about to burst into stardom but he somehow keeps flying under the radar.
As an aside but wholly related, I highly recommend Reaper and Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil respectively as a television show and film that respectively stars Labine.