Comedy Central’s Big Lake comes from some big names in comedy. However, it would be hard to tell that from watching the show. Set in an average-sized community in middle America, the plot begins when Josh (Chris Gethard) loses all of his money, and all of his clients’ money, including everything his parents had, and then moves back in on their couch. I’m not sure what exactly Josh’s job was, but the point is that he is a huge disappointment to his folks and now lives with them. Josh is very creative, but can’t seem to get any of his ideas off the ground, which makes you wonder how he got the job he previously had in the first place.
Josh’s family has some talent in it. His mother is played by Deborah Rush (Strangers With Candy), a comic genius in my opinion whose talent is wasted on this project. His father is portrayed by James Rebhorn (White Collar), who usually does more dramatic roles, but can certainly do comedy. His younger brother, who at the age of 12 has already dropped out of school and seems to run all organized crime in their town, is Dylan Blue. Each of these actors is strong. Each of them struggles to make bad writing funny, and succeeds at it more often than expected.
Now that he’s back home, Josh begins to hang out with his townie best friend, Glenn (Horatio Sanz, Saturday Night Live), and his former teacher, Chris (Chris Parnell, also SNL). Chris used to be a great mentor, but has given up on his career and does plenty of illegal things that would cost him his license if he ever got caught, which, remarkably, he doesn’t. By the end of the pilot the three friends have become inseparable and unable to function without each other, which is odd, considering they were used to being alone before the show began.
And that’s the problem. The sitcom plays into cliche and cheesiness, and allows its characters to be one-note. Sure, it’s quirky and sometimes funny, but there are so many things wrong with it, it’s hard to like. Yet, I keep watching. Maybe it’s the cast. Maybe it’s because the show is odder than it should be. I don’t know. Something about it draws me in, even if I admit I don’t really like it all that much.
If you want to check out Big Lake for yourself, new episodes air on Comedy Central Tuesday nights at 8 and 8:30pm. But do it quick, because I think it’s unlikely to get a second season.