3 out of 5
Created by: Pete Holmes
Being another Apatow produced comedy, you can sense the cringe comedy, man-child-rediscovers-the-world confined of his style upon Crashing, and maybe – if you’re skeptical of Apatow, like me – that makes you give the show a pass.
But there’s a slight tweak here. While I am, as mentioned, not a fan of the many iterations on his formula, Apatow has certainly been involved in some wonderful things here and there, suggesting that with the right elements, superior Freaks and Geeksy results are possible. Crashing isn’t at that level, but the tweak – its right element – is Pete Holmes.
A semi-autobiographical representation of Pete’s divorce – and the toll it took on his struggling standup career – skewed through the comedy of sad-sack tragedy, of course – works solely due to Pete’s common man appeal. Religious, his acts coming by blueness honestly, Holmes is never unaware of how his relative innocence stands next to his peers (and the way he “acts” this suggests having lived with that awareness as well); this is the Naked Gun-style key: Everyone is in on the joke. Things go hilariously wrong for Pete as he essentially becomes homeless, lucking from one fellow comedian’s couch to the next, but his positivity throughout isn’t played up as naive and thus the juxtapositioned punchline: everyone’s surprised at how he rolls with the punches, and so it makes it believable that this comparatively sunny standup would be hanging out with the likes of foulmouthed T.J. Miller and Artie Lange, not to mention the clear respect he has for their craft. Pete’s the dude who doesn’t drink but is still cool to hang with at a bar.
Crashing is still a fairly predictable show – when things start to go right you’re just waiting for the fates to turn – and hits more at a chuckle level than laugh out loud, but in the same way Holmes is shown as putting in the time and effort into his craft, the show earns its viewing time with a sort of in-built integrity, all thanks to its charmingly humble creator and co-writer. (And, sure, Apatow.)