Review by DEVIN MURPHYJune 11, 2018 certified reviewer
What I liked
Amazing origin stories that cover everything from the inspired (“Anne Hathaway”) to the banal (“club soda”) with a playful humor and cutting voice that both questions and satirizes many of the things we accept at face value.
Solid performances throughout, especially the leads.
So many jokes- repeat viewings necessary.
Rock Hudson jokes for days. So goood.
Being smarter than majority of the audience on Sunday. I don’t think they knew who Rock Hudson was, or Howard Hughes, or Natalie Wood, or any of the amazing contextual jokes that this show has.
The cast is without a doubt committed and hilarious.
What I didn't like
Could use some quieter moments in the second half (so much screaming detracts from overall ability to hear the jokes, especially with supporting characters).
My overall impression
A farce in the purest sense of the word, Nickel Dickers excels at satirizing the Studio System with an old-timey panache that screams Golden Age Hollywood, while simultaneously boiling down the misogyny, racism, nepotism, and indentured servitude of the ole’ times into a surprisingly funny and relevant take on the lasting implications of the system now carrying modern Hollywood into a reckoning with the #MeToo movement.
The show revels in the dense dialogue and joke-a-second approach of modern TV comedies such as 30 Rock and Brooklyn Nine-Nine while constantly stretching audience comfort and expectations to varying degrees of disgust and delight. Expect to see multiple hot takes on Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, animal buddy pictures, and even Howard Hughes- all in the vein of old-timey producer rapport, yet with a modern wit and relevance.
Critically speaking, Nickel Dickers is the closest show I’ve seen this century to the groundbreaking Ubu Roi, a farce of the French Monarchy that incited riots at its premiere 120 years ago (rather than skewering the ruling royalty with scatological humor and plunger crowns as in Ubu, Nickel Dickers lampoons the Hollywood Elite with obsessions of wealth, power, and lordship over the loathed masses, fixations on sexual conquest, power, and box office returns, and most importantly, “winning”).
Though the show would by no means be deemed “politically correct,” it is important to point out the less-than-family-friendly humor serves as a greater overarching device to draw attention to the insanity and baseness of the male-dominated entertainment industry- an immersion in depravity to draw light to the power of the depraved through ridicule and satire. Think mid-era South Park when the showrunners found a prescient balance of the crude and the sharply insightful.
Never more relevant, Nickel Dickers is highly recommended to those who enjoy the manners and fashions of the “old guard” transposed to modern day as a way to draw attention to the unchanging nature of men in power to do bad things until they’re held accountable. I would highly recommend to anyone with a love of the movies, and especially to cinephiles- who will be delighted by the countless “origin stories” of everything from Jurassic Park to Weekend at Bernies to the club sandwich. To remain spoiler-free, I will state that the show’s closing origin story is easily the best “button” to close a show in 2019, tying the entire 45 minutes of comedy into something depressing, horrific, and hilarious, yet immensely impactful. 4 out of 4 stars.