TV Review: “The Birthday Boys”- A Few Gifts

Written by Emily Stewart December 16, 2013

The Birthday Boys Cast

“The Birthday Boys” is like receiving a present you are initially unsure about. You look at it, and wonder who thought you would enjoy it.  It starts to grow on you, however. The new IFC sketch show had questionable humour at the beginning, and at times can be a bit dull. “The Birthday Boys” still presents some topical and funny skits each episode. The seven men ensemble also gets credit for never presenting the same routine twice. The sketch comedy was improving at first, but one of the last skits was disappointing.

 A Deceiving Package

The first “The Birthday Boys” episode is the worst of the series. One of the skits features Mike “Mitch” Mitchell and Michael Hanford in the nude because their clothes were stolen. The skit features a close up shot of a pixelated male crotch. It’s a cheap and unnecessary humour tactic. All it made me want to do was look away from my computer screen. Most of the skits were painfully dull, but the ending was brilliant. After pitching awful sketches, “The Birthday Boys” still receive their paychecks. The end of the premiere took a light punch at any new show. Even if it’s the worst concept produced, the crew doesn’t care because they will still get paid.

The Birthday Boys Paychecks

Luckily, the show improves from there. Not every skit is a treat, but there’s at least one per episode worth checking out. What was the other remotely funny sketch in the premier? Pitching literally nothing as a product, yet still receiving applause from the crowd. One of the best is “Take A Walk With Me”, where “The Birthday Boys” satirize the clean cut sitcoms of the past. They make walking with a girl the most scandalous thing at the time. Most of the episodes have a central theme around them. The strongest one is about catching up on television shows. Their best skits spoof the media itself, especially television genres like cop shows, where arts and crafts were used instead of forensic sketches.

Never mind, where’s the receipt?

“The Birthday Boys” presents fairly unique sketches. Most of them don’t feel repetitive, and none of the skits are brought back up again. Some were lighthearted, and not trying to tackle controversial topics. However, it can be mildly to super uncomfortable to watch when they do. One episode features the cast submitting a video for the NAACP, where Hanford, Chris VanArtsdalen, and Jefferson Dalton are treated respectfully after they change into black people. The dialogue in another makes it seem like they’re joking about homosexuality, but they clarify they were referring to the male strippers at a bachelor party. Explicitly offensive skits are worse, but even the subtle cues of potentially offensive material didn’t sit right. The latest episode, unfortunately, features a skit that went too far. It surrounded a dad (Mitchell) acting as his son’s (Ferguson) prom date, nearly ending with incest. Yikes! I’m not sure what “The Birthday Boys” can do for justice after that number. It’s a shame because Mitchell is one of the stronger actors.

The Birthday Boys Cast Two

If you’re going to check out “The Birthday Boys”, be sure to skip the first episode. It’s good for what it is, but most of the other episodes are much better. After a mediocre first impression, “The Birthday Boys” were likable guests.  Most of the skits poke fun at the media, and are enjoyable if you know a lot about television and film. However, it’s best to search for just those, rather than an entire episode. The mediocre and awful sketches need to be expunged, and fast.

My Rating: 5.5/10

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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