On the completely opposite side of daddy-issues television, I used to think Tim and Eric were pushing forward this broad and profound thesis in Awesome Show!, having to do with shifting the cultural depiction of childhood as something innocent and nostalgic to something very dark and sensual and primarily uncomfortable, full of incomprehensible nightmares one has no hope of possibly understanding. Whenever I watch an episode I think a lot of the humor comes from the notion that everyone from Hollywood celebrities to 50-year-old Eastern European men recruited off of Craigslist are just the same gross five-year olds they once were, only aged a few decades.
And while I still think that’s the case, the gap between the fourth and fifth seasons was close to a year, and since then Tim and Eric (along with their style of humor) have become exponentially more famous. In 2009 they created segments for HBO and music videos for legitimately popular artists. One of their main collaborators, Zach Galifianakis, is now an A-list movie star. Tim and Eric even directed a Boost Mobile Super Bowl commercial, for Christ’s sake. And so while Season 5 is still deliciously dark, the show feels more like the status quo than anything actually transgressive. Which isn’t a bad thing whatsoever! And maybe I’m projecting something that isn’t there onto my dislike of this season’s shift to HD, which goes a long way towards eliminating that crazy cable-access show aesthetic in favor of a more cinematic feel- but I’ll miss the time when I could watch an episode on my computer alone with the lights off at 3AM and feel like what I just witnessed was both totally insane and utterly unique.