Some Like It: Intellectually Low Brow
TV . Content . 2 Minutes . Julia Leffler
Welcome back to our "Some Like It" series! It's way too easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of TV available to us these days - but we're here to help! If you know how you're feeling, we know some shows that are right up your alley. Check back every Friday for a new set of recommendations.
Without further ado:
Intellectually Low Brow - imparting intellectual insights through low brow means
Oxymorons are super in! While low brow humor is usually defined by a lack of intellectual interests, we've seen more and more shows blur that line and we're here for it. So, for our purposes we're going to define low brow basically as crass or crude humor - jokes about sex, embarrassing bodily functions, and/or four-letter words. We'll defend a well constructed fart joke if it makes us laugh. And, you know what? That's ok!
This trend of pairing "cheap jokes" with a deeper and thought provoking meaning owes its popularity to the OG of the Intellectually Low Brow genre on TV: South Park. While downright off-putting in its approach to getting a laugh at any cost, Matt Parker and Trey Stone have also given us some deep philosophical insights and searing satire for 22 seasons now. And due to the success of that show and the broadening TV-scape we've seen more and more shows follow suit - mixing the silly and the profound. It's a tough balance to strike but they make it look easy. So if you're feeling like a raunchy laugh-fest that makes you think, we've got just the ticket.
1) Extras - HBO
If you love SNL hosts who are not afraid to make fun of themselves then this is the show for you! From Ricky Gervais (of the British The Office), the show centers around a man trying to make a film career for himself but all he can get is work as an extra. But the true joy of this one is the A-list guest stars they got to play unflattering versions of themselves - perverted, desperate, and just plain stupid versions of themselves. Plus, it's given us the best definition of acting we've ever seen. But deep down, it has some fun things to say about fame and how to handle your dreams not really coming true. Intellectual, check. Low brow, big ol' check!
2) American Vandal - Netflix
So here's the basic pitch for American Vandal: imagine a true crime documentary in the style of Making a Murderer, except it all takes place in high school and the crime in question involves spray-painting genitalia on the cars of teachers. Class clown and obvious suspect Dylan Maxwell takes the fall but the school AV club isn't convinced it was him so they set out to prove his innocence. And what starts out as jokes about teenagers being dumb and more innuendo than we can count quickly becomes a gripping mystery and tale of the injustice of stereotyping. And it will seriously have you wondering - whodunnit? For their second outing, the team tackles the politics of catholic school and the insidious nature of social media....and a much, MUCH, grosser crime spree.
3) Broad City - Comedy Central
Created by and starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, both alumnae of the Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe, this show tackles the frivolous lives of twenty-somethings in New York with absolutely no filter. That often means sex, drugs, and Soul Cycle which provides an accurate and sometimes blistering portrayal of a way of life that is very much here and now. While simultaneously having meme-able moments (Yas! Yas! Yas!) and having something important to say about a generation that is too often reduced to just their meme-able moments, Broad City is hilarious and thought-provoking in equal parts. Yas Queens!
We hoped you enjoyed Some Like It: Intellectually Low Brow. Check back next week for a brand new run down for a whole new feeling.