It’s Bruno!***1/2 *ing: Solvan Naim, Rob Morgan, and Shakira Barrera Created by Solvan Naim
A dog lover and his canine companion take centre stage in It’s Bruno!, a quirky web series that follows a man and his four legged friend as they go about their lives.
Series creator Solvan Naim stars as the protagonist, Malcolm, a man from Brooklyn whose love for his puggle, Bruno (played by Naim’s actual dog), keeps leading him into absurd adventures. The show comes in the form of eight short episodes of zany antics, often with only a sliver of a story holding it all together. Malcolm navigates romance, dodges dognappers, gets into a fierce rivalry with another dog owner, and tries to find a way to take Bruno into a supermarket that doesn’t allow dogs, all the while amusing and charming viewers.
This is the kind of show that you’re likely to simultaneously find both ridiculous and stupidly funny. And if you’re a dog person, then you’ll probably find It’s Bruno troublingly relatable.
There isn’t heaps of depth or vast character development here, but there is enough passion and charm in this short series and its oddball characters to keep you interested in the tale of a devoted dog owner and his pet. It may not be the kind of show that will inspire you to subscribe to Netflix, but it’s worth a look-see if you are a member of the streaming service.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson***
*ing: Tim Robinson
Created by Zach Kanin and Tim Robinson
Directed by Alice Mathias and Akiva Schaffer
Saturday Night Light alum Tim Robinson takes his comedy to Netflix in the sketch series I Think You Should Leave, a collection of skits that often take things to the absurd extreme.
The content is basically similar to SNL sketches (unsurprisingly some of the shorts are in fact SNL rejects) but with stronger language. Most sketches start in a normal, often pleasant setting but then things quickly escalade into some form of human madness.
Robinson mostly plays with clever ideas, although some work better than others. An airplane sketch featuring the terrific Will Forte is a highlight. Other former SNL members and several actors – like Sam Richardon, Vanessa Bayer, Cecily Strong, Steven Yeun, Andy Samberg, Fred Willard, and Tim Heidecker – also show up during different clips.
You’re likely to get different mileage out of the various sketches, and ultimately how funny you find any of this will purely come down to a matter of taste. Fans of the more loud and silly SNL sketches in particular might enjoy this series.
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience***1/2
*ing: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone
Directed by Mike Diva and Akiva Schaffer
It’s hard not to be fascinated by the minds that came up with The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, a ridiculous combination of utterly random ideas, the mere existence of which is amusing in itself.
Billed as a “visual poem”, The Lonely Island’s Netflix special is presented as a rap album made by baseball players Jose Canseco (portrayed by Andy Samberg) and Mark McGwire (Akiva Schaffer) in the 1980s when the pair was known as the Bash Brothers.
The 30 minute special re-imagines the sportsmen as a Beastie Boys-like outfit performing a Lemonade-esque visual album about steroids and father issues, loaded with baseball references and featuring appearances by the likes of Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate, and Hannah Simone, as well as a standout Sterling K. Brown who appears as singer Sia. The third member of the trio, Jorma Taccone, plays various different characters.
The comedy rap group mock the Bash Brothers, spoof Beyonce’s 2016 visual album, and indulge in general silliness as they make their way through this pseudo concept set. There are some delightful moments here, and even some skilled rapping (‘Let’s Bash’).
Not everyone will vibe with The Lonely Island’s over-the-top style of humour, but if you’ve enjoyed the trio’s work in the past, then you might want to give this special a try. And if you’ve always wanted a parody visual record based on two steroid-fuelled baseball players from the ’80s, then, well, here you are.