Sam Loudermilk is a recovering alcoholic and acerbically witted counsellor who provides emotional support to his congregation of miscreants and layabouts whenever they encounter trials and tribulations. When he becomes the guardian of Claire, a recovering substance abuser, he realises that there is more to life than just his job and rediscovers love in the unlikeliest of places.
Peter Farrelly’s first foray in Television is a sour, sarcastic triumph and a timely reminder of how funny he and his brother used to be in the 90’s without resorting to the obvious, overly-crude territory their later material wallowed in. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the standard fare of rude jokes but they are expertly layered along the story sparingly for the purpose of situational comedy that seemed to have escaped the brothers of late.
The show’s central figure, played brilliantly by Ron Livingstone, is expertly cast as a fictional Larry David with even more faults than the “’real thing’ who has little qualms about telling people how it is. You may cringe at what he has to say and how he says it with brutal honesty and hypocrisy, but you come out of each 30-odd minute episode liking him even more for it, and that’s no easy feat to pull off for both the actor and writer!
The supporting cast are mostly an equally likeable band of misfits and it’s good to see British actor Mat Fraser finally getting a role he can show his obvious talents in, something which he is (unfairly) overlooked for in this country due to his physical disability. The vulnerable and spiteful Claire is played perfectly by Anja Savcic who doesn’t become too much of a parody of the Generation Snowflake character she is portraying, especially in later episodes when Sam and Claire essentially swap roles but the stand out for me was Will Sasso as best friend Ben who is clearly more a liability than help as the show progresses.
The reasons preventing this show from becoming an instant classic are few, but important. Neighbour Allison (played by Laura Mennell) is an unwelcome distraction to draw out his nicer side and would be a welcome drop for the second season. Her inclusion feels like a bit of a cop-out and the removal of her character would make Loudermilk the perfect anti-hero; emotionally rich with a dash of nihilism but always expressing it in the wrong way or tone to the detriment of establishing more relationships with the outside world.
In summary, if you want to watch a comedy that will give you genuine laugh out loud moments and is easy to pick up and drop without being binge-worthy it’s worth a look.
Watch this if you liked: “Office Space”, “There’s Something About Mary”, “Eastbound & Down”