P.J. Pesce and Paul D'Acri met in high school. They supposedly argue just like Chico and Guapo. See more »
This new program offers a bracing interrogation of race, work, gender, language and urban life. It applies a frame tale structure as in Beavis and Buthead but keenly addresses social and cultural issues not from the prison of white suburbia but from the electric environment of brown, urban America. Two Puerto-Rican young men, made in the model of Laurel and Hardy (fat and skinny) watch TV and experience what 200 million Americans do every daythe spectrum of terror, horror, medical science, sex and current events on TV in rapid-fire-channel-changing quest for something of substance and pleasure. The overload includes some tongue touching images from Girls Gone Wild, to which Guapo retorts something to the effect of "I don't care if they are pretending, it still excites me." The entire show is full of such comments on the nature of fiction, illusion, belief and their relationship to desire and pleasure. How is desire possible, how is it constructed in a world of technological overload and commodification, in a world of imaging making and packaged performance? To this end, the show explores desire in all its modern cultural forms, including the desire of white kids to be black and, more seriously amidst the humor, the desire of brown men to achieve self-respect. But the show also employs many classic, proved and artfully enacted paradigms: it is a workplace show, emphasizing loyalty and love among the workers; it featured in its debut, a fight scene that was both an homage to "Bugs Bunny and the Crusher" and a send up of the ubiquitous "smack-down" wrestling programs, here wittily rendered as "slap down." And like Bugs Bunny, there is plenty of cross-dressing and gender-bending here. The show's writers are obviously comic historians, and they know how to play both to a new young audience and to Boomers who can catch the cascade of visual and verbal allusions: Last Tango, Deliverance, etc. The writing is rich and allusive and will repay multiple viewings. There is even something Welsian in the overlapping dialogue.
Finally, the show satirizes political correctness and sanctimony as it pokes fun at race - never tastelessly or mean-spiritedly -- but insightfully, as in the prophecy that soon there will be no color but mocha-late as in Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Hale Berry. The tightly packed episodes within the frame structure of the show are some of the smartest cultural studies satire one can see on TV. I endured a flash of Celebrity Death Match moments before C and G went on, and I quickly grew tired of the predictability and monotony of that gag. C and G, on the other hand, is full of levels and surprises, and, as Chico said twice in this debut, you might learn something from the stories. The writers are bold enough here to allude to Horace's call for "dulce et utile" (pleasure and value) from art. The creators have put together a rich and dramatic show, and the coming attractions promise more of the same. I recommend this show to viewers of all ages capable of irony, and I'm sure the Modern Language Association will sponsor a scholarly panel on it someday.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this