“What We Do In The Shadows” Season 3 Proves It’s Television’s Best Half-Hour Comedy
What we do in the shadows is a love story, the problem being that it’s between former vampires and a human servant who also happens to be a vampire slayer. It also takes place on Staten Island. And shot like a reality TV series. And obsessed with supernatural creatures, overdone gore and dirty sex. It all makes it utterly and hilariously absurd, and the best half hour comedy on TV.
Returning for its third season on September 2, FX’s What we do in the shadows is a spin-off of the 2014 feature film of the same name by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. At this point, however, it’s carved out its own unique identity on the small screen, not that its creators aren’t likely to. appear from time to time. Waititi briefly appeared at this year’s premiere, briefing the undead quartet of Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Lazlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and “energy vampire” Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) – as well as their deadly (i.e. “familiar”) slave Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) – of their fate after last season’s climactic carnage, in which Guillermo was revealed to be a blood-killer descendant of Van Helsing and slaughtered most of the ruling vampiric council in order to save his roommates.
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In a twist out of left field, the quartet learn that instead of being mortally punished for their crime – which violates the cardinal rule that vampires must not kill other vampires – they are appointed the new rulers of the east coast vampiric. advice. Which is funny precisely because it makes no sense.
Such is the ridiculousness of What we do in the shadows, which continues to balance the mundane and the extraordinary with expert effect. Once again, the real center of the series is Guillermo, who in the opening episode languishes in a dungeon cell while his vampire employers debate the pros and cons of killing him, now that he is. a potential threat to their security. There’s no real danger of Guillermo going anywhere, of course, since Guillén is the glue that holds this nonsense together, his lackey a chubby, lonely and insecure guy who desperately wants his selfish master Nandor to turn him into. vampire, and whose suppressed anger at being constantly despised in this regard – and marginalized by his buffoonish employers, who can’t do anything without him, and yet treat him like filth – has now manifested in deadly form.
Guillermo is both pitifully submissive and slyly in control, and he functions as the public’s proxy, his knowing gazes towards the camera (a la Jim in Office) marking him as the only character who is not completely blinded by the illusion. Nonetheless, there is a lot of deception in the final episodes of What we do in the shadows (four of which have been provided for printing), starting with Guillermo, who, in fact, is not actually a captive of Nandor and company; he subtly comes out of his cage daily to take care of the household chores his pompous buddies can’t and won’t do. Once this ruse is over, Guillermo claims to be hypnotized by the vampires, who want to make sure he doesn’t kill them while starting his new job (a promotion!) The same as being their familiar.
Nandor, Nadja, and Lazlo are plagued by misconceptions about their abilities and charm. This is evident in a second episode involving a “duplicating cloak” that everyone uses to transform into Nandor so they can help him land a date with a woman who works out at his local gym, and in a fourth episode of Atlantic City in which Nadja can’t tell the difference between the real Rat Pack (who she was friends with) and the act of tribute performing at a casino nightclub (the tip? Frank Sinatra is now Asian). Much of the humor of What we do in the shadows comes from the utter ignorance of its vampire protagonists, whose problems stem largely from their stubborn belief in themselves despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. The fact that they then manage to make their way through various difficult situations is therefore a confirmation (for them) of their greatness, which only creates further chaos.
At least in its first four episodes, What we do in the shadowsThe third season doesn’t boast of a stellar standalone story like last year’s “On the Run”, which found Lazlo assuming the brilliant “human bartender” aka Jackie Daytona. Plus, it seems to reduce Lazlo to some sort of backstory gamer whose main role is to be the sex demon who mostly talks about getting high in a shed and indulging in outrageous carnal madness. It’s not so much that Matt Berry isn’t great in these chapters, but that the series seems to have made Lazlo a one-dimensional punchline, which seems to be a mistake given that Berry’s conceited doofus has often been the most sharp of the procedure. character.
The same can be said, to a lesser extent, about Proksch’s Colin Robinson, whose fuller integration into the group has drained him (pun intended) of some of his lackluster, awkward appeal. With Proksch and Berry occupying more of the periphery, the series puts more spotlight on Novak and Demetriou, and both are skillfully up to the challenge, with Novak in particular eliciting considerable laughs from Nandor’s arrogant idiocy, whether it be him training in the face of a human member of the gym, or expressing his penchant for The Big Bang Theory– both the sitcom and, just as importantly, the licensed casino slot machine. Watching Nandor dance to Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” (while wearing a Seger T-shirt and nothing else) is a highlight of the start of the season, and it – with a kickball game between vampires and werewolves – embodies the marriage of the ordinary and the out of this world which makes the show such an inventive riot.
Even though Jackie Daytona won’t reappear in season 3, and it’s still unclear if Mark Hamill will reprise his “Jim the Vampire”, What we do in the shadows undoubtedly has more surprises up its hidden sleeve. Not that he needs recurring gadgets or guest stars to thrive; with the funniest actors (and writers) on television, his future, much to the chagrin of his dark-loving characters, remains intensely brilliant.
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