It’s Familiar, But Not Too Familiar…

A few weeks ago, I talked about “My Brother, My Brother and Me”, the podcast that is going to save comedy. I took to the webs to say what I’ve been saying non-stop to my friends in real life… that these boys are funny, and good, and deserve your time and attention.

Since then, the McElroys have unveiled their newest creation, the six-episode TV show version of “My Brother, My Brother, and Me,” released via the online comedy streaming service SeeSo.

I’ve now watched the series twice all the way through, and I wanted to talk about it. Not only because I, unsurprisingly, loved it, but also because it made me understand even more what makes these three brothers so special to me, and to so many other people.

The show is essentially the same as the podcast, just a little more focused from episode to episode. The boys are presented a question from a listener, and they embark on a quest to solve it. The difference, of course, is that now the boys don’t discuss the question – they physically venture into their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, to discover the answers they require. Whether it be starting cults, handling tarantulas, creating resumes, or just simply getting over their social anxiety and talking to people, they work tirelessly (and sometimes distractedly), to solve the problem.

As a huge fan of the podcast, the show is a comfortable extension of what I already know, but has enough little additions and differences to make it something exciting and new. It’s a lot of fun to see Justin, Travis, and Griffin as opposed to just hear them. And the slightly different format of the show, focusing on one problem instead of many, feels like the concept of the podcast but leaves a lot of new room for depth. As the opening theme song states, “It’s familiar, but not too familiar, but not too not familiar…”

I think, though, the biggest positive about the show is its accessibility. Despite the fact that I adore “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” and listen to it all the time, I don’t really recommend it to too many people. It’s kind of a hard sell, telling someone to sit down and pay attention to only audio for an hour. Podcasts, while wonderful, take a little getting used to. A TV series with half-hour long episodes though? A lot more mass appeal. There’s visuals to go with the audio, and it’s significantly shorter.

I was given physical evidence of this fact when, last weekend, I arranged an impromptu viewing party of the entire series with a few friends. I baked cookies and, as tradition would dictate, Totino’s Pizza Rolls (a long time joke both from the podcast). And it was a smashing success. Two of the friends I had invited were also fans of the podcast, but it was enlightening to see how much the three friends who had never heard the show before enjoyed it. I even heard some interest in getting into the podcast from one of them.

And of course it makes sense why. It takes a lot less commitment to sit down, enjoy some baked treats and marathon a TV show than it does to lay face down on your bed for hours and marathon 350+ episodes of a podcast. Yet, the TV show is so good, so genuinely funny, that it makes the viewer want more. The sell for the podcast becomes a lot easier when you already know firsthand you’re in for some great comedy.

On a more surface level, though, watching the “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” TV show through the eyes of someone who had never experienced the podcast before reminded me of what made me a fan of these brothers in the first place. Even if you don’t know them already, it’s hard not to see the appeal of Justin, Travis, and Griffin. I already knew they are sweet and genuine people with an oddball sense of humor, but seeing them interact with the people of their hometown in ways that were sometimes awkward but always good-intentioned reminded me of that fact. I already knew that their brotherly affection for one another provides great chemistry between the three of them in the podcast, but watching them bicker and make fun of each other and hang out with their adorable father, Clint McElroy, reminded me of that fact, too.

All in all, the “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” TV show warmed my heart, cleansed my soul, and reminded me that there is good in the world. It has also provided me with maybe one of my favorite moments in comedic history. If you want to check it out, I highly recommend it! You can watch the whole show at SeeSo’s website. Subscription to the site costs about $4 a month, but the first week is free if you just want to pop in, give it a watch, and then pop out! I promise, you won’t regret it.

 

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