The Sarah Silverman Program: “NightMayor”

Like most shows on Comedy Central that aren’t fake newscasts, The Sarah Silverman Program has aired quite sporadically since its 2007 premiere, with hiatuses that can times last longer than a year. But regardless of its spotty production history, it’s a quality program.

If it’s your thing, that is. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Although Sarah Silverman is approaching 40, her sense of humor is perpetually eight years old, but I mean that in the best way possible. She can also be quite offensive, so if you’re sensitive about that kind of stuff, maybe you should stay away.

Whether or not you find the following joke hilarious will probably be a tell tale sign of whether this is something to add to your DVR schedule:

Sarah approaches a series of political campaign posters for the mayoral candidate Terry Grossnickle. Always up for some mischief, she breaks out a pen and says something along the lines of, “Grossnickle? This is too easy.”

You see her writing for a long time, assuming she is altering the name in some way, but then comes the reveal: Sarah simply just wrote the word “PUBES” in giant letters across the sign.

This was the strongest joke in this episode, so if it didn’t do it for you, you may not be the target demographic.

Speaking of target demographic, candidate Grossnickle is played by Bradley Whitford, who could possibly be recognized as the character Josh Lyman from The West Wing. More likely, however, viewers of the SSP would recognize him as the villainous Eric who once attempted to thwart one Billy Madison in his mission to go back to school. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just interesting how two different crowds could so differently associate the actor. That being said, he’s a little underutilized in this episode in spite of his talent.

His screen time is given out to a less funny character, “May Kadoody”, Sarah’s write in candidate that turns out to be real. If you don’t get why she would write in that candidate, say it fast. It’s just one of many testaments to Sarah’s love of scatological humor, which sometimes works (Brian’s revenge on a rascally pigeon last week), and sometimes doesn’t. Her love of the scatological and the show’s surprising ineptness at choreographing musical sequences drive the following sequence:

The scene is a blast to watch, but somehow the comedy aspect of it falls a little flat. And when you make a joke about “doody” and it misses, that’s a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there. But you have to respect a show that goes all out like this.

The show also tends to tackle an issue (usually controversial) per episode, and this week it was gay marriage.

While at first Sarah and her friend Brian (hilariously played by comedian Brian Posehn) think it’s hilarious that May Kadoody turned out to be a real person, the honeymoon’s over once it turns out that Mayor Kadoody is avidly against gay marriage(Brian is gay, and his boyfriend wants to get married). Sarah doesn’t seem to mind too much until Kadoody also outlaws something dear to her heart. That thing is brunch, or as she likes to call it, the union of “eggs and 11 o’oclock.”

Sarah then tries to figure out a way to oust this new tyrant, but as her sister (who’s physical features are beloved by internet commenters) Laura tells her, “It’s usually easier to just pick the right person in the beginning.”

This is followed by plenty of shenanigans, including, but not limited to, an Ace Ventura impersonator and Mayor Kadoody hooking up with a guy in drag.

The B story, Brian and his boyfriend Steve’s attempts to get married, is stronger overall. While Brian is initially reluctant to the nuptials, he turns around when he realizes “having you bound to me until death is totally metal.”

The episode climaxes in Brian and Steve’s wedding, and if the word “mythology” could be applied to a show like The Sarah Silverman Program, this would a significant book in the canon.

The credits roll over what’s meant to be a silly sequence – the cast and extras (including said Ace Ventura impersonator) all gloriously dance down the steps to celebrate Brian and Steve’s wedding vows. But with Paolo Nutini’s “Growing Up Beside You” playing over it, the scene actually plays with a sentimentality that’s devoid of irony (couldn’t find that exact scene, but here’s the one that precedes it):

Overall, not the strongest outing, but still pretty solid. Prediction – Sarah Silverman will eventually grow out of her womanchild persona (or take a brief pause from it) and get rave reviews for her own version of Punch-Drunk Love.