appreciations

Save Detroiters, the Most Brilliantly Stupid Show on TV

Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson on Detroiters. Photo: Comedy Central

Shit! With everything else going on in the world now we have to live without Detroiters?

There are so many wonderful comedies on television today. Shows that present new and interesting perspectives and make you think about the world in ways you never have before. Detroiters was not one of those shows. Detroiters was an old-school cackler. The only thing it ever made me think was, “I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard at a television show.”

The premise was simple: Tim Robinson and Sam Richardson, two real-life buddies from Detroit, play two buddies from Detroit. They run a local ad agency. They are energetic, hopeful, and also buffoons. The kind of big-hearted buffoons you want to spend time with. Buffoons whose emotions swing wildly from joy to rage to confidence to shame and back to joy, showing no scars of the events that have just transpired. The show combined two incredibly nimble performers with razor-sharp scripts (shout-out to co-creators Zach Kanin and Joe Kelly) that didn’t unfold as much as dive from one joke to the other. If there was any theme to the show, it was friends who loved each other. It was just what I needed.

Correctly, praise has been heaped on the “Teddy Perkins” episode of Atlanta as an indelible comic masterpiece. But may I suggest, as a companion episode, Detroiters “Hark Motors”? Not only does it also include a trip to a strange man’s mansion (this time, it’s the great Kevin Dorff), but you will also see my favorite special effect in a decade. Spoiler alert: It’s a car that shits. In fact, I would urge everyone to watch the cold open of this episode, which includes a full-throated defense of the superhero the Flash, a child slapping a grown man, a woman being told to hold onto a rope so she doesn’t slide around in the back of a van, and five other great jokes all in under two minutes. It was brilliantly stupid.

I am sad that, for now, Detroiters will not have a third season. I am hopeful that a network looking for a new jewel to fill its schedule will rescue it. But if there is any good news it is this: Whenever you get around to watching Detroiters, you will love it because it was not a show for its time, it was a show for any time. And that is a true accomplishment.