I just got home from a sneak preview screening of Adult Swim's new 6-episode miniseries "The Heart, She Holler," which kicks off this Sunday night at 12:30am. The "sizzle reel" for this show started making the Internet rounds a month or two ago and, in keeping with much of Adult Swim's programming, it was predictably batshit:
Having now seen the whole series, I can tell you the show is an inside-out blend of soap opera and politically incorrect surrealist comedy, with a definite tinge of body horror thrown in the mix as well. Fans of "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "Tim and Eric," and the British series "Psychoville" would likely feel quite at home watching this sucker.
Now, you ought to go into this thing prepared. The creators are the same folks who did "Wonder Showzen" and "Xavier, Renegade Angel", so boundary-pushing humor that skewers religion, sex, race and everything in between is gonna be par for the course. If you didn't enjoy those shows, you shouldn't expect to like this one. But if you did -- you are in for a 6-night feast for the comedic senses (with more shows to come, from what they told us in the Q+A that followed the screening).
Much has been made of the casting of Patton Oswalt as the main character, who plays a feral man-child suddenly put in charge of a spooky town full of deranged, inbred yokels. And of course he's hilarious, no question about it, but to me the real standouts are the female characters.
Kristen Schaal is ridiculously funny as Hurshee, the devious town slut doing everything in her power to wrest control away from her brother. Heather Lawless has a Sissy Spacek-circa-"Carrie" vibe that lends itself perfectly to her role as Hambrosia, Hurshee's telekenetic sister who reads minds and occasionally plays nursemaid to a hot, steaming iron that talks to her. The granny character, creepy old Memaw, is played to sickbed perfection by Judith Roberts -- the beautiful neighbor lady from "Eraserhead"!
I think I found this show so refreshing because when it comes to TV comedy, the female characters are usually just written so safe -- they're sarcastic wives or girlfriends spitting wry one-liners, or they're clumsy-cute imps like Zooey Deschanel (whom I like, so don't get it twisted!). Yes, we have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, who are amazing, but I've just really, really missed seeing women act super duper balls-out disgusting and reprehensible on TV.
There is an Amy Sedaris-sized hole in my heart that has been there since "Strangers with Candy" went off the air, but I think the gals on this show might be the ones to fill it.
"The Heart, She Holler" airs nightly at 12:30am on Adult Swim, starting Sunday, November 6.