What happens when you take a family from the witness protection program, put them in New York City and give them their own reality show? - Delocated, a hilarious American sitcom.
I was wasting my life on twitter again recently when I noticed the great Chris Morris enthusiast and archivist @cookdandbomd mention how brilliant a particular comedy show was. In a moment of rare openness to something new I bought the first series there and then and started watching. The show is called Delocated and it is the best comedy TV show in ages.
Delocated runs with a premise that is as simple as it is ridiculous: “What happens when you take a family from the witness protection program, put them in New York City and give them their own reality show?”
The story focuses around “Jon”, (Jon Glaser) the greatest comedy character since Homer Simpson. “Jon”, going by his new name, is a balaclava wearing, voice disguised, well-meaning idiot living this preposterous life. Under the promise of a “sweet loft” “Jon”, his wife “Susan” (Nadia Dajani) and son “David” (Jacob Kogan) decide to star in this new reality TV show. Yet when the “sweet loft” is discovered to be just a tiny hotel style room, Susan leaves Jon and takes their son David with her, removing their balaclavas and voice disguisers in the process. Jon is left to carry on with only his loyal Secret Service Agent Mike at his side.
To add some murderous spice to proceedings, the Mirminsky Russian mob family, who were originally ratted out by Jon, are after his blood. But there are television ratings to chase. So the television network sets up Yvgeny Mirminsky (Eugene Mirman) to have his own rival reality TV show that follows his attempts at killing Jon while trying to become a successful New York stand up comedian. As I say, a ridiculous premise. Yet it works.
Such brilliant weird exploits include Jon firing his Secret Agent so he can hire him as his friend and making sleep inducing CD’s for babies.
Every moment, every word is perfect. It is genuinely laugh out loud funny in the way few shows actually are. Jon’s relentless positivity and niceness to everyone – bar his long suffering doorman – is hilarious, especially whilst his whole world crumbles around him. Even with the Russian mob after his life, Jon just keeps on living and getting involved in preposterous situations. Such brilliant weird exploits include Jon firing his Secret Agent so he can hire him as his friend, making sleep inducing CD’s for babies and running for the non-existent title of Dog Mayor of New York City.
How the show manages to combine sheer brilliant comedy with assassination attempts is unparalleled. Characters often die in the most brutal of ways yet the farcical concept and great comic turns override the seriousness of such brazen violence. Even seeing Jon cry over the murder of his parents is funny, as he continues to wear the balaclava and the voice disguiser turns his tears into an oddly pitched squeal.
The second series of Delocated is when it really gets going. Doubling the original 11-minute show time Delocated perfects what it is trying to do as the death count increases in tandem with the laughs. The improvement is mainly in part to the introduction of Yvgeny’s brother, the genuinely frightening Sergei Mirminsky (Steve Cirbus) and man without morals, Network exec Mighty John Joe The Black Blonde (Jerry Minor). Sergei stands out in particular, shouting and murdering his way through the show. New York comedian, Todd Barry also makes regular scene stealing cameos as he hangs around the Russian mob’s headquarters gambling, trying it on with sex workers and annoying Sergei.
The recently finished third series is just as strong and one hopes that a fourth series is on the way.
A show this funny and inventive hasn’t been seen in a while. The character of Jon is as good as any comedy character of the past. It also serves as a perfect parody of the reality TV boom that is so prevalent today. Simply, a life without Delocated just isn’t as good. Start watching it now.
Delocated is on Adult Swim, the nighttime channel take over of Cartoon Network in the US. Though it is available in the UK to buy at all the usual places online.
Follow Tom Greaney on Twitter: @twgreaney
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