This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The series doesn't premiere until the day after this post's publication; we got screeners.
Should You Let Detroiters Motor Into Your TV Schedule?
Comedy Central's new sitcom takes us to a struggling ad agency in the Motor City. Will you be driven to watch?
What Is This Thing?
Hank Cramblin was a legend in the world of advertising, with a successful agency in Detroit. Then he went insane. Now his son Tim and Tim's friend Sam Duvet are trying to build Cramblin back up to its former glory.
When Is It On?
Tuesdays at 10:30 PM ET on Comedy Central, starting February 7.
Why Was It Made Now?
Comedy Central's been investing a lot of resources in live-action sitcoms of late -- which I guess started with Workaholics, but which only dates back to Broad City as far as my personal experience is concerned. And with Workaholics ending after its current season, the network may need a replacement workplace sitcom that revolves around male protagonists.
What's Its Pedigree?
Tim is played by Tim Robinson, who was briefly a featured Saturday Night Live cast member in the '00s. Sam is played by Sam Richardson, better known as Richard on Veep. Both actually hail from Detroit, and co-created the show in addition to starring in it; its executive producers are Jason Sudeikis (who also guest-stars in the series premiere) and Lorne Michaels, and both Michael Che (SNL) and Amber Ruffin (Late Night) are among its writers.
I don't want to gush. But I pretty much love everything about it. Tim and Sam are the best kind of idiots, loaded with a confidence as plentiful as it is baseless. The series premiere revolves around their efforts to land an account they are clearly not prepared to take -- a project they derail with aggressive office basketball, stress tests performed on a window, and experimentation with forty-plus-year-old diet pills. (Without spoiling the result, if they were great at their jobs, the show wouldn't be that funny.)
At the same time, the show has a lot of heart. Tim and Sam (and, one presumes, Robinson and Richardson) love Detroit, and the way the city is portrayed in the series is a pointed rebuke to the "American carnage" that idiots -- or maybe just one idiot in particular -- think plague majority-black municipalities. I've never been to Detroit, but Detroiters makes it look like a vibrant, thriving place to work and live.
It's also noteworthy that the series premiere of a show on the typically very white, very male Comedy Central features three (3) black women with speaking roles. One is a one-off receptionist, but the other two are series regulars: Chrissy (Shawntay Dalon) is an auto worker and Tim's wife; at the agency, Sam and Tim work with Lea (Lailani Ledesma), a film student who shoots their local TV ads. The show's clear sense of place, and the consciousness of portraying its real-life diversity, are key elements of what makes it work. But, most importantly, it's also extremely silly.
Tim's teeth are kind of rough?
But the show even acknowledges that with a "corn cob" joke in the second episode. There also may be some who are offended by Pat Vern Harris's senile Cramblin receptionist Sheila -- a holdover from the days of Big Hank, who may not be entirely certain that Tim is not he -- or by the insensitive way Tim describes his institutionalized father. But since Sheila gets more dimension after the pilot, and Hank has yet to appear on screen in the first three episodes, they were in bounds for me.
It's really funny and smart and weird. Try it.