"The Road" - Crashing review

Chad White

“The Road”
Season 1, Episode 2

When I was ten I went through a phase where I couldn't sleep without a Tylenol PM.

As I wrote in last week’s review, Crashing comes in at a time when there are several other comedian-led, biography type sitcoms on the air. At this point, viewers probably only stick with a show that has a lead they completely like. The same person who watches Dr. Ken surely cannot love Maron. But Crashing is operating on two levels. Unlike those other shows, there isn’t one simple solution. Pete is still without a stable home and he’s still figuring things out. But then there’s a completely different version of the comedian Pete Holmes and the character.

It’s under this notion that Holmes (real) and Pete (TV) are years away from each other. The Holmes that acts as Pete is a lot less jittery. He has confidence in what he’s saying on stage, his sexual prowess and friendly nature. Pete, on the other hand, is nervous when he comes face to face with TJ Miller. The differences are staggering, making for interesting possible developments. For “The Road,” Pete grows only to find that he’s got to establish his own foothold in the comedy world.

Artie says it’s going to be Pete’s job to intercept drugs during their trip. He does this – even chugging a beer that a bar patron bought for the headliner. Pete’s just doing what he’s told, afraid that his new friend would slip back into dangerous habits. Pete really is a sweet guy. This is even evident later in the episode when Pete doesn’t have sex with a woman who was gunning for Artie. His plan to abduct her is genuinely adorable (“It was the ol’ switcheroo!”). But, prior to the sex offer, she bombs the car with pepper spray: “It's like the Devil came in my eyes.... He's the Devil; he doesn't have to ask where to cum."

Artie rewards Pete’s driving and general apprenticeship with an opening spot. Pete uses this chance to try out a new crowd and position in standup but it doesn’t pan out. He gets a laugh here and there yet he’s still not to where he can sell his jokes (I full believe the jokes he told could be used by current Pete Holmes; it’s just a matter of confidence). His failure is captured in a beautiful yet straightforward shot in the green room with a sign on the back wall that reads “you’ll think of something.”

Elements of a realworld friendship also seep through thanks to the script from Holmes and Oren Brimer. After Miller kills and Artie takes the stage, Pete enjoys a drink with the erratic comic. Miller says he enjoyed watching Pete flounder on stage while retaining a smile. And that’s what separates Crashing from other sitcoms – even when things are failing, Pete keeps smiling.

Should you watch “The Road?”

The second episode captured what is believed to be the spirit of Crashing. Holmes and his crew are doing a great job so far. Hopefully, they can keep this up for the rest of the season.