Screens: Showtime

Could Web Therapy Just Be All Bloopers?

It sounds crazy, but...maybe?

Like a lot of Showtime's half-hour programming, Web Therapy is entertaining without being, exactly, funny in the way other sitcoms are? Like, it's fun to watch, but it's not packed with jokes like a 30 Rock. And it's improvised, so the comedy derives from the combination of what the audience knows about the characters, and what the actors playing them discover on a moment-by-moment basis. (What's worse than explaining why something's funny? Explaining why something's kind of funny. Sorry.)

Anyway: one part of Web Therapy is funny 100% of the time. Interspersed between screens of credits at the end of the show are brief peeks at the moments during the taping of the show's improvised segments when the actors broke; it's the part of the show I look forward to the most by far. Last night's killer break came in a scene in which Fiona (Lisa Kudrow) is Skype-ing with her husband, Kip (Victor Garber) and his new boyfriend Ben (Michael McDonald); trying to get from one story point to the next, Fiona distractedly snaps at Ben, "What are you queefing about?" McDonald loses it immediately; seasoned stage actor Garber holds it together a bit longer, but not much.

So I realize that the headline is silly and inflammatory; making a whole show with the intention of manufacturing bloopers would be like the televisual equivalent of deep-fried butter: delicious at first, but probably nauseating in the long run. And yet, when I was a kid, there was a whole series made out of TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes, and no one was tuning in for the practical jokes. I still like Web Therapy enough to watch the pre-outtakes material, but don't we deserve an end-of-season outtake special? You know we do.

To prove my point: here's a supercut of all the outtakes from Meryl Streep's Season 2 appearances:

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And here's one featuring Tim Bagley's poor, lovelorn Richard.


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