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Sunday, December 15, 2013

ENJOYing BRODY STEVENS

Article first published as ENJOYing BRODY STEVENS on TheTVKing.

Comedy Central recently launched its first 'drama' series, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! In the first two half-hours, "Brody Stevens, Who Are You?" and "Breakdown!," presented together this week, we meet Steven Brody Stevens, a comedian who used to do warmup for Chelsea Lately and has appeared in The Hangover films. Suffering from mental problems, Brody backed away from the spotlight for awhile and stayed in an institution, but is now back on his meds and ready to make his comeback.

Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! seems to be an unscripted reality series following the show's lead, though surely there is some structure to the episodes. It's hard to tell how much is real, with Brody, Chelsea Handler, Zach Galifianakis, and others playing themselves, seemingly not doing anything so unrealistic that this appears faked or staged. This may just be mostly authentic.

This program is actually based off an HBO short-form project, which explains why it seems more high brow than CC's other fare. The interviews and conversations are mixed pleasingly with amusing animation to really get inside Brody's head in a creative way. The whole thing doesn't quite feel like anything else I've seen before, lending it a bit of originality that is much appreciated.

Brody himself is an oddball, but in a good way. He definitely has had some anger issues in the past, given the stories and explanations he spills early in the run, but he appears to be stable and considerate now. He is working through his stuff with the help of a therapist, and is on a mission to rebuild bridges, such as the one with Chelsea, whose show he quit.

Brody is also bluntly honest. As he embarks on a date with a woman in episode two, he over shares way too much about himself, scaring her away. However, it's this earnestness and the need to not hide anything that makes him endearing, too, knowing what you see is what you get. He doesn't always portray himself in a positive light, when lends him credibility. Any person willing to be this open and honest on a television show (and when discussing sex with their mother) is probably pretty up front about their feelings.

This series is quite compelling. Everyone likes a good comeback story, and Brody has one. He also seems like the type of person who deserves it. His career is clearly not huge, as most people will not have heard of him, but he's been involved in projects with high profiles, showing he has talent and famous friends who respect his skills. If Zach Galifianakis likes him, why not us at home, too?

As a rule, I generally avoid reality shows at all costs. But if Brody Stevens wants to pour his heart and soul out for us on screen, and he seems like someone who is a good person with his head on straight, who am I to criticize? Especially when he's such a fascinating individual. I think I'll keep watching.

Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! airs Sundays at midnight on Comedy Central.

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