Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Karl Puschmann: Crashing is great telly. So is Crashing

Instead of watching the hot new comedy Crashing I ended up watching the hot new comedy Crashing. This was an honest mistake and almost represented the first real failing of my strict "no spoilers" policy.

Fortunately Crashing turned out to be really great. Which I'll chalk up as another win for the policy. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Before I talk about Crashing I need to talk about Crashing.

It all started when a trusted source come to me gushing about Crashing. Right after he described it as, "the best comedy of the year," and right as he said, "it's all about a...," I cut him off.

"The policy," I said, putting my headphones on and turning back to my desk.

You see, Alfie, I don't want to know what anything's all about. Ever. I like to operate in a void of pure ignorance.

This works out just super when it comes to reviewing television shows or movies but is admittedly not so crash hot when it comes to reviewing my finances or insurance policies.

So when I saw Crashing come up during one of my regular rummages through Netflix's catalogue of new shows, I immediately hit play and got my binge on. It was hilariously filthy, interspersed with the right sort of bittersweet moments and a realness to its central love triangle that sitcoms often fail miserably to get right.

The show was created, written by and stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She also created, wrote and starred in the equally filthy and hilarious sitcom Fleabag. Making her two for two by my count.

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Having secured a starring role in next year's Han Solo movie she appears to be well on the way to becoming the superstar her immense talent demands.

Crashing revolves around a bunch of London millennials legally squatting in a derelict abandoned hospital as its "property guardians" and having the usual sort of life and love troubles you worry about in your 20s.

Waller-Bridge's character Lulu drives the action as a loose flirty wildcard driving wedges in relationships and causing varying degrees of troubles wherever she goes.

While Crashing recycles the old will they/won't they/were they on a break? routine we've seen a gajillion times before it feels fresh enough to warrant going through one more time.

Which is exactly what I said the next day to the blank and confused look of my trusted colleague.

"Crashing," he said slowly, "is all about a guy trying to become a stand-up comedian. What were you watching?"

"Crashing," I said. "On Netflix."

"What? No," he replied, mystified. "Crashing's on SoHo."

Which was the exact moment I realised that there must be two hot new comedies called Crashing.

So while Crashing is an edgy millennial sitcom filled with inappropriate behaviour and lewd jokes Crashing, on the other hand, is a gentle and slightly wistful comedy about following your dreams.

Pete Holmes star of Crashing, with guest star Sarah Silverman
Pete Holmes star of Crashing, with guest star Sarah Silverman

It was created and written by standup comedian Pete Holmes, who is the host of a successful podcast (You Made it Weird) and a failed chat show (The Pete Holmes Show).

In Crashing Holmes plays Pete, a struggling standup comedian trying to make it big after his marriage falls apart, largely because he was struggling to make it as a standup comedian.

The show's loosely autobiographical which marks is as yet another entry into the well represented category of sitcoms made by and about white, middle-aged comedians. But whereas Seinfeld, Louie, Maron et al trade in cynicism and a sort of universal mean spiritedness, Crashing comes at life in an almost naively positive way.

Pete just really, really wants to be a comedian. So much so he abandoned the path of becoming a pastor although he still sees life through those religious eyes.

He suffers setbacks, rejections and harsh reviews - including a stinging assessment from his own mother - but every little victory he earns fills him with enough positive mojo to keep battling away.

The show's a definite change of pace. It's understated, wry and features some really great bad comedy. Based on what we've seen of Pete's standup so far his "making it" seems highly unlikely... But you're rooting for him to beat the odds. Failure couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

So there you have it. A brief rundown of two hot new comedies. If you're looking for something funny to watch then I can absolutely recommend Crashing.

Both of them.

- NZ Herald

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Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A pop culture junkie, Karl has spent his career writing about the important things in life; music, film, television, comics and video games. He was editor of a popular music rag for five years and has since written regularly for every local culture/arts/lifestyle magazine worth a damn. His recent expansion into travel writing has flung him far, far from the comfort of his couch and into that bewildering place known as the ‘outdoors’. He is also currently endeavouring to make sense of the world by reviewing it over at critikarlreviewstheworld.com

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