This Jon Glaser Loves Gear review contains spoilers.
Jon Glaser Loves Gear Season 1, Episode 1
Maybe you’re reading this review on your laptop that’s placed upon some designer desk as you sit back and recline comfortably in your ergomatic chair. Or perhaps you’re scrolling through it on your phone, which you’ve just pulled out of its custom carrying case as you see your reflection shine back at you off of its limited edition case. Or maybe your Roku device is syncing its Bluetooth signal to your state-of-the-art ultra-portable laser HD projector and you’re getting your latest TV news in style. It’s for these exact reasons that truTV’s newest comedy, Jon Glaser Loves Gear, is simultaneously a super specific program but also one that feels endlessly relatable.
Jon Glaser has steadily become a master at bringing his very unique brand of weirdness to the mainstream, whether it was in his consistent presence on Late Night With Conan O’Brien or the series that he would eventually go on to create and star in, with Delocated and Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, Glaser is a voice that is interested in taking risks and relishing the silliest aspects of life. Jon Glaser Loves Gear very much feels like a culmination of sorts of Glaser’s previous works, with the results here being an interesting hybrid of a product that seems to only be continuing to evolve. This basic “gear” gag started as a largely improvised bit that Glaser would do on stage, and yet he’s managed to this into a television series. It still blows my mind that such a one-note concept like this could actually become so layered.
While still largely marching to its own beat, the basic premise of the series sees each episode examining some different subset of “gear,” whether it’s camping, cycling, or the myriad of other topics that are out there in the world. There’s a nice divide found in each episode where there’s a substantial amount of time spent legitimately educating you on gear, while also allowing Jon’s unstoppable ego to derail things into a wholly unexpected direction. At one moment several minutes are devoted to a ridiculous non sequitur involving Sylvester Stallone that is all ultimately pointless. Jon Glaser Loves Gear is not afraid to take you down such rabbit holes. In fact, it’s got gear specifically built for such things.
Gear is of course a heavy focus in the series but if there’s any other prominent thread being tugged at throughout this show, it’s the crumbling status of Jon’s marriage and his family life. There were a number of Delocated episodes that saw “Jon” throwing himself into his hair-brained scheme du jour, but it’s easy to picture this season ending with Jon broken and alone, crying in a pile of water-resistant gear.
On the topic of Jon, the character, Glaser admittedly brought a similar hapless quality to the bulk of the characters that he’s played in the past. That being said, while there are clear touches of “Jon” and Joe in this portrayal of Glaser, it also feels like the most honest and close to home version of this guy. While this is obviously still a fictionalized version of himself, there’s a degree of genuineness to the character that shines through, too. I suppose that makes sense for something that’s attempting the “faux reality” genre, but it’s also the most satisfying version of Glaser to be getting for this sort of show. He’s just pure id unleashed and it’s wonderful. The series’ opening scene—wherein Jon flies through his pitch of the series to truTV—sets the hectic tone and tempo perfectly.
Around Jon are of course the people that have to clean up his mess. The supporting cast and guest roles in Jon Glaser Loves Gear practically feel like a who’s who and “all-stars” assemblage of familiar faces and steady confidantes, with people like Steve Cirbus, John Hodgman, Janeane Garofalo, and Michel Shannon all having satisfying, juicy roles.
One of the biggest surprises of this series lies in the fact that it’s a lot more serialized than you’d expect a show of this nature would be. There’s a lot to miss here if you’re not paying attention (including an incredible gag involving Steve Cirbus during the show’s opening credits post episode one). It requires much more eagle-eyed viewership than your standard reality TV show. It’s kind of beautiful to think of a show that seems so innocuously simple in its ambition spinning such plates at the same time and trying to weave a much deeper story.
The season’s second episode, “Cycling,” perhaps offers a better glimpse of the sort of madness that this show is capable of devolving into. There’s plenty of cycling details and gear to go along with it, but there’s also a solid B-story revolving around the production of a post-apocalyptic bike messenger thriller called Quick Rush. So yeah, you’re getting episodes that are delving into various niches and outdoorsy areas, but you’re also getting a lot of eye-roll inducing nonsense that’s as ridiculous as any of the gags from out of Delocated or Neon Joe (as well as this series continuing a beautiful multi-series joke involving Paul Rudd’s mortality). This is a show after all that invests in stupidity so thoroughly that it actually has a main character that is a gear-based Siri clone known as Gear-i. So yeah.
Jon Glaser Loves Gear launches to an exceptionally strong, distinct start that is likely only going to get better as the series goes on. If you’re a fan of Glaser’s previous work, there’s no reason why you won’t love this to death, and even if you’re not familiar with him or a fan of more alternative comedy in the first place, I’d still say to check this out due to how humanizing it is. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll end up gravitating to and pulling out of this stupid show about gear.
Jon Glaser Loves Gear premieres on truTV on Wednesday, October 26th with back-to-back episodes
This review is based on the first two episodes of Jon Glaser Loves Gear’s first season