10 June 2011 | bradydm2001
One of the funniest TV shows--sorely underrated, destined for cult status.
Recently, I found "Hollywood Residential," and I found it to be one of the funniest goddamn TV shows I have ever watched. Adam Paul absolutely makes this show. Within thirty seconds of the first episode, you will believe this is a guy that can make you crack up--crack up so hard and loud you'll have to rewind the show a few minutes just to hear the last joke. Think of George Costanza's younger, much nuttier brother and you'll have an idea of the character Paul plays here.
In "Hollywood Residential," we meet Tony King (Adam Paul), an extremely maladjusted Bob Villa-type who's just been demoted from host to co-host of a TV show about making over celebrity homes. His new partner Lila Mann (Lindsey Stoddart) is a sexpot brought in to lure new viewers to the struggling show and network. Tony chafes against the change and struggles to keep himself in the limelight, but he can't help screwing everything up. He's wicked jealous of Lila and the attention she receives: she has an actual agent, the network and crew love her, the celebrities usually favor her, and she has her own line of tools. Meanwhile, Tony has none of those things. He's his own worst enemy, and it's clear to everybody but him that the harder he tries to ingratiate himself to the celebrities and the network suits, the closer he is to getting himself fired.
"Hollywood Residential" takes a satirical look at Hollywood and HGTV, and that's a great combination. Both of these things are ridiculous on many levels, and there's a lot of material to mine here. Each episode centers around the filming of an episode of the show-within-the-show. They try to produce the episode, there's a problem with the celebrity guest, Tony's personal life gets in the way: hilarity ensues. But that's just the basic idea. What makes the show really work is Adam Paul. While his character might be reminiscent of George Costanza, he's not derivative. Tony's a lot more human than George. He doesn't come off as just a joke; he's three dimensional. Tony King has dreams and ambitions of acting, but he's stuck hosting a DIY show on a crappy network. What started out as a temporary solution to unemployment has become a rut, but now Tony would be lucky if the rut were permanent. To boot, his love life's a mess, he doesn't really have any friends, and nobody takes him seriously. Complementing Tony is Lindsey Stoddart's character. Lila's a girl who's had to undergo plastic surgery to look as photogenic as she does, she genuinely sympathizes with Tony's resistance to her, and she's uncomfortable with the image her agent is molding her into, but she's willing to go along because she wants to be a star. Just like Tony does.
Both actors are well-suited for their roles. The rest of the cast is a little all over the place, but they're definitely serviceable. For the most part, though, including the leads, they're all unknowns so it's easy to get to know them as characters. Some people might complain that there aren't enough likable characters. I understand that, but I think a show like this is an exception. Most of us wouldn't want to hang out with these people, but it's entertaining to watch them from a distance. They're likable enough, in that way. But they're more than watchable.
There's a lot to like here. If you're a prude, though, you won't like the show. If you don't like subversive humor, you won't like the show. If you think documentary-style filming and improvisation are techniques that can only be used by a few ultra-popular shows, you won't like the show. The only thing that sucks about this show is its lifespan. Eight episodes comprise the run of "Hollywood Residential" and, unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be getting any more. Whatever the reason for its failure to launch, "Hollywood Residential" is four hours of straight laughing your ass off. Belly-holding, knee-slapping funny.
Here's hoping Adam Paul's career really takes off.