While I’m basically familiar with the late nineties cult classic “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” my knowledge of it stems mostly from nostalgic Buzzfeed articles and my dad’s complaints that TV just isn’t what it used to be. Trust me, not even 55-year-old men are exempt from ‘90s nostalgia.
The Netflix original series “With Bob and David” acts as a reboot of sorts for the classic series in the same vein as “Wet Hot American Summer,” bringing it into the 21st century for a new generation of fans. Despite the time gap between the original series and this one. Both Bob Odenkirk (whom you probably know as Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”) and David Cross (aka Tobias from “Arrested Development”) are still going strong, bringing killer humor to TV almost 20 later.
Having no experience with the original series, the show’s opening credits immediately brought the surreal artwork of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” to mind. I have no doubt this was intentional being that the Python guys were and are pioneers of the sketch comedy genre as we know it today.
After the opening credits of episode one, we’re treated to a close-up of a smoking, modified port-a-potty. The story behind this is as follows: Bob and David entered a “time machine” in 1998 and laid low for the next 16 years, waiting for the right time to let themselves out. That year was 2015, and now they’re back to reunite with their comedy buddies (who are “so old”) and get back to work. The trappings life in 2015 are shown all over the episode, including the infamous “dress” that sparked so much debate earlier this year. The fact they caught that, of all things, showed that this series is dedicated to being culturally relevant, especially when the part of culture being referenced is ridiculous.
The second sketch in the first episode parodies the often played-out idea of unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions, like quitting your job, moving away and chasing your (ridiculous) dreams. One character plans to push Samsung out of business with the startup cellphone company he’s running out of his basement, while another wants to become the first Jewish freelance Pope. It’s not a spoiler to tell you they both succeed. Whenever one character expresses any sort of doubt about these plans, all the others look at him like he’s crazy.
There’s also a callback to a short sketch that played before the opening credits. The same character appears in both, adding a level of consistency to the bizarre universe these sketches take place in. Case in point: One character announces he’s giving up red meat because his cholesterol is too high (as he was told by his doctor in the earlier sketch). He’s the only one being ridiculous, according to his poker buddies. I can’t do this sketch justice in writing, but it was absolutely hilarious.
Apparently the original cast remains mostly intact, making this reboot all the more special and interesting. The chemistry among the cast members is fantastic, and the opening scene feels a lot like watching a group of friends messing around on camera without any knowledge they’re being filmed. Overall, “With Bob and David” is goofy, charming, and leaves you wanting more. Just what the doctor ordered.