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If The First Season Of 'Detroiters' Flew Under Your Radar, Adjust Your Settings

Jun 21, 2018
Originally published on June 21, 2018 10:58 am

"There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse."

Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafón said that.

But what does he know.

Case in point: If you missed the 10-episode first season of the Comedy Central series Detroiters last year, that was a mistake. Acknowledge it, accept it, and take heart in the knowledge that you can move past it! You don't need to feel remorse, Señor Zafón! You can go back and watch the first season on the Comedy Central site at any point! (I recommend starting with Episode 6, "3rd Floor," to see if it's your thing.)

Or you could jump into season two, which premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central.

Here's everything you need to know.

Sam Duvet (Sam Richardson, who played the guile- and clueless assistant Richard Splett on Veep) and Tim Cramblin (SNL writer/performer Tim Robinson) are best friends who live in Detroit. They love their city, and each other, fiercely. They live next door to each other; Tim is married to Sam's sister (Shawntay Dalon). They run a low-rent ad agency together, where they produce low-rent television commercials for local Detroit clients — ads stuffed with cheese-ball gags they somehow manage to convince themselves are clever and witty.

Oh — should have mentioned this earlier: They are very, very dumb.

If that proved to be the full extent of the series' organizing principle — local commercials are cheesy, and the people who make them are idiots — Detroiters' first season might have made a bigger splash than it did. But instead of acid wit, the show's leavened with a sincere, if profoundly goofy, kind of sweetness.

Yes, Sam and Tim are not smart, nor are they particularly good at what they do, but their affection for the city they live in is very real, and their status as best friends is inviolate. The chemistry between the two, and the actors that portray them, is mighty: Richardson's Sam is a man so convinced he possesses skills he very much does not that the smallest compliment transforms him into a creature of hilarious smarm. Robinson's Tim is a mouth-breather who feels everything deeply — too deeply. One of Detroiter's chief joys is watching that actor launch Tim from slack-jawed, uncomprehending passivity into vein-popping rage and back again in seconds.

Along the way, the guest cast is sprinkled liberally with real-world Detroiters like Keegan-Michael Key and Marc Evan Jackson, along with just plain funny people like ex-SNLers Jason Sudeikis (who exec-produces the show along with Lorne Michaels), Tim Meadows, Nora Dunn and Bobby Moynihan.

The humor is broad and dumb and at times casually filthy, but it's often the buttons — tiny dialogue exchanges at the very end of a given scene that have the feel of improvisation, even if they aren't — that produce the biggest laughs. There's a breeziness to the proceedings that keep the series' reality flexible enough to incorporate some pretty big plot swings without breaking stride (Sam and Tim got run over by Sudeikis and left for dead last season, for example.) (They're fine now.)

Look: There's a lot of very good, very funny television right now. And you have only so much time in your day. But while Detroiters possesses none of the familiar hallmarks of Prestige TV that would guarantee it a berth on year-end lists, nor is it weird enough to accrue a tiny but devoted cult following, it does exactly what it sets out to do exceedingly well, and very stupidly. When Comedy Central picked it up for this second season, it gave Detroiters a second chance to become what it deserves to be — the kind of beloved series that friends and co-workers eagerly recommend to each other. So if you slept on it last year, don't sweat it — you were one of many who did. But now it's time to wake up and smell the goofy.

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