3 out of 5

Directed by: Tim Kirby

covers season 1

IFC: Still in denial.  You’re a teenager, and you like “alternative” films.  So while your friends are paying top dollar to sing along to Aerosmith in Armageddon, you’re at home, ejecting your Blue Velvet VHS and wondering if you should watch Rushmore again.  Later, you get the opportunity to name a television station (like one does), and you’re all like, “yeah man, let’s bleat it loud and proud: Independent film for the win!” and so you name the station the Independent Film Channel.

Some twenty years later, the internet has ruined the concept of “independent.”  Your references to A Clockwork Orange happen on Two Broke Girls re-runs, and websites that are top returns on google searches are reporting on hip flicks and shows before you can be bothered to memorize the newest meme to stay referentially cool amongst your peers.  Calling something IFC seems… rather silly now.

But the channel chugs along, trying its best to act like it still exists on the fringe of something.  Portlandia is frequently hilarious but always seems to stop short of the unhinged genius of something on late night Comedy Central or Adult Swim; Marin is acerbic but leagues away from the organic insightfulness of Louie; Stan Against Evil understands horror but can’t come close to cutting loose like Ash vs Evil Dead; and now Brockmire, with all the crass and brashness of an Always Sunny, but aiming for HBO plotting nuance.  And, y’know, failing.  Because IFC can’t escape it’s own vacuum of wannabe independence, and it’s shows will forever be average.  Entertaining, though?  You betcha.

Brockmire, apparently developed from a Funny or Die sketch, has Hank Azaria as a disgraced sports announcer, rescued from a life of drunken and drugged also-rans sports’ announcing gigs (e.g. cockfighting) to work for Amanda Peet’s small-town minor league crew, Peet hoping to cash in on Brockmire’s notoriety.  …Which was a derived from a drunken on-air tirade after discovering his wife in flagrante delicato with multiple partners.  Cue Azaria, still as a drunk and drugged announcer, saying ridiculous, over-the-top things while Peet’s team and hometown are mined for small-town humor.  Azaria wears a plaid jacket, uses inane analogies in an hilarious Bob Murphy and Phil Rizzuto-inspired voice, and there are several sports guest stars, if that’s your shtick.

Meanwhile, amidst jokes of snorting birth control and anal play during sex, the show tries to develop a serious side via a relationship between Azaria and Peet, which doesn’t make much scripted sense, but is carried along dutifully by its talented actors.

Which is an overall summary of the show, which fitfully bounds along on a loose “save the town with baseball” plot, but is really just letting its leads’ charms woo us for twentyish minutes.

Color me entertained, but IFC: You still haven’t shrugged off your image issue.