“Porter Got HBO”
Season 2, Episode 4
I take 10% of the fun.
Reviewing Crashing can be tough sometimes because the story can be so straight forward while the jokes are fast flying. Pete Holmes is a sensational comedian yet his acting skills can be desired. But Crashing has always been fun to watch. And it’s even better when it channels the machinations of the comedy world. “Porter Got HBO” isn’t charting new territory; it’s getting another view of the same story. Couple that with the episode’s music selection of songs that are exclusively about nobody liking you and you’ve got a solid episode of Crashing on hand.
As seen most recently in Don’t Think Twice, a comedian getting a big time gig can change the dynamic of friend groups. The only difference between that movie and this episode is that there was no set main character for the former. Pete leads this show and he’s the one we should be seeing on the stage. Instead, he’s playing supporting character to Porter’s story. Even if we’ve seen him become an entirely new person (he tells ex-wife/new friend Jess that he’s “a man now”), Pete is still a child on and off stage. He’ll never know when he’s a “man;” it just happens.
As if to keep the comedian on his knees, the B-story covers Jess and Leif hooking up (Pete’s “Did you just now arrive or...” to Jess is too hysterical to watch just once). But Jess is growing too and wants to try a friendship with Pete. A lunch turns into a rainy day marathon of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then the power goes out. And Pete thinks it’s the perfect time to pull a move. When it doesn’t work, he reverts back to his immature nature, begging for Jess to bring what she has with Leif to Pete. It’s as sad as it sounds with the comedian arguing against his former self (e.g. “I think you'd like me now.” Earlier, he compared himself to John Denver).
Pete’s childlike nature is one of his biggest flaws. His inability to admit to fault figures into a good number of the story lines of the series. When Porter gets an HBO spot thanks to Whitney Cummings, Pete’s the only comedian at The Boston to continue with the lie that he’s okay with their less talented friend shining in the spotlight. This mimics the entire cast of Don’t Think Twice when they say they’re happy when Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) lands a spot on a storied Saturday night live variety series. But it’s fair for friends to feel that way. This reviewer would be remised if he said he doesn’t feel it at this very moment. Yet Pete can’t let this deter him from actualizing his own goals. When “Porter Got HBO” ends, Pete takes Jess’s advice and relieves pain by screaming in the subway.
Should you watch “Porter Got HBO?”
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to see someone else succeed while you floundered, this episode is for you. Also watch Don’t Think Twice because it’s near perfect.