“Uh, yes, I’m calling about the Baby DVD…”
We’ve reached the end of the first season of Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, and this show, more than any other of the duo’s projects, felt like it had the most potential behind it. Going into this, their senses were the most refined than they’ve been after their Funny or Die Presents material as well as their feature film. The thirty minute “Haunted House” pilot was a reasonably strong, well produced, bizarre entry to tease the show almost a year before it actually began airing. This episode manages to be a decent enough finish to the season, and reasonably strong on its own merits, being largely held up by John C. Reilly’s commitment to all of this.
Things start off innocuously enough with John C. Reilly, as Jordan, catching a late-night infomercial for a “Be a Baby” program. The program is presented by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, two brothers (which should have been the first warning sign), and the infomercial is pretty vintage Awesome Show! Great Job! Resembling anything that you’d have seen out of there. The “Be a Baby” program basically has you resetting your life in some means of starting over and growing into something productive and important like, say, a businessman rather than a little shit.
Reilly does some really wonderfully restrained, beleaguered work here, as things begin to take a turn for the worse after he sees the infomercial and thinks it could helps his life (but he also really wants the complimentary comedy DVD I mean, Jonathan Karp, that guy’s gonna eat anything you put in front of him!). Jordan quickly learns that it’s not just a video that you receive in the “Be a Baby” program, but rather an entire experience as Tim and Eric show up at his house and start forcibly transforming his life and robbing him. It’s a scam. Somehow this entire, legitimate operation is a scam.
As the object-less Jordan is pretty shaken from this, he goes to a restaurant to get some food and relax, when he’s met by a waitress, Gabrielle (Laurie Metcalf in a strange role). She asks Jordan if he believes in love at first sight, and as it so happens these two happen to be in love with each other.
But then aren’t.
As Gabrielle is just playfully joking around with Jordan. After being victim to becoming a mark to Tim, Eric and Gabrielle, Jordan lets the floodgates open that his entire life people have always been playing pranks on him, making him feel like trash. He begins to think that Gabrielle is even working with Tim and Eric, his mind beginning to leave him, as the trauma from this “straw that broke the camel’s brain” accumulation causes him to stroke out or some equivalency. Gabrielle smiles sheepishly, hopefully, having no idea what her simple goof has done.
So with the end of this episode and the season as a whole, I have to say I’m a little disappointed with the sum product of everything. Yes, this was a beyond-fine show and to have it was better than to have not had it. There are also some weird, standout performances through the seven episodes from Tim and Eric mainstays and new faces alike.
That being said, for something that was billed as a Twilight Zone aping anthology series that would feature some of the duos scariest material, this no doubt falls short. Most of the season deals with a character who’s an outsider in some sense, and a reckoning comes, which is fine, but several episodes (including this one) also go out on a crazy note of climax, whether it’s Angel Boy getting wet and going on a rampage, or the non-ending to the Schwartzman installment from last week.
Look, these two of course know what they’re doing and it’s nice that they have the freedom to really do whatever they please, but I guess I was just expecting a little more variety and a little more substance. I would argue that in spite of it being very entertaining, none of this season was fundamental Tim and Eric viewing, which is especially disappointing since the latest season of Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule was the sharpest it’s been and pushed it to new places. They returned to that because they had something to say and I hoped it’d be a similar situation with this show. It was still a very fun, very unnerving ride, and I’m sure if and when a second season happens, it’ll be even more refined, and resemble more of what I hoped this would be.