Tacoma FD: Some Broken Lizard Alums Have a Show – HBO Max Review

I didn’t hear anything about this show for two seasons, so I’m spreading the news.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you made a Super Troopers TV show… well, keep wondering, because that’s not exactly what this is. However, if you’re wondering what would happen if you took some of the minds behind Super Troopers and gave them a TV show about wacky people working at a fire station, then wonder no more. This show was created by Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme, two of the members of Broken Lizard, and in addition to writing and directing most of the episodes, the pair star as the leaders of the firehouse Chief Terry McConky and Captain Eddie Penisi. While both characters have the exaggerated qualities you might expect from Broken Lizard, they’re toned down a bit and humanized more, allowing for some episodes to actually have decent emotional moments. McConky is a bit of a blowhard but loves a good time and wants to be liked and Penisi wants to be having a good time, all the time, which usually gets him in trouble.

They’re the best in the business, but no idea which business.

The rest of the cast are similarly flawed and yet funny characters: The medic who is often a bit of a cynic, Granny Smith (Marcus Henderson); the part-time stripper and full-time lunkhead Ike Crystal (Gabriel Hogan); and the shy and insecure Andy Miyawani (Eugene “Pillboi” Cordero). After a few episodes, they’re joined by McConky’s go-getter daughter Lucy (Hassie Harrison) and the show explores a lot of the nature of sexism in firefighting through their interactions. Despite clearly having to work harder than many of the guys in order to get respect, Lucy also often chooses to play harder than them as well. 

When you get dosed while putting a fire out at a rave…

Part of the central gag of the show is that Tacoma, Washington has such a moderate climate and high rate of rainfall that fires aren’t much of a risk. Most of the time the calls that the firefighters are responding to are bizarre incidents involving things like Alpacas, raves, popcorn fires at a haunted house, and the occasional sex shop arson. However, a lot of what the show explores is how all of these people deal with their downtime and the bureaucracy of a mid-sized city. The show’s greatest strength is in reflecting how frustrating it can be to try and deal with the less-glamorous aspects of certain jobs and giving the characters ways to vent those frustrations in hilarious scenes. The humor is a little less stoner-y than in most Broken Lizard films, but it’s still pretty zany. If that’s not your taste, you probably won’t like it, but at least you’ll find out pretty fast. Personally, I think the characters are all pretty great when they’re interacting and the dialogue and situations are amusing.

Ah, the bachelorette party fire. Classic.

Overall, give it a try. I think this show does a good job of giving us a more emotionally relatable version of Broken Lizard’s comedy.

Broken Lizard’s Club Dread: Slashes, Laughs, and Grass…es – Hulu Review/13 Reviews of Halloween

Broken Lizard brings us a slasher comedy.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Famous island rocker Coconut Pete (Bill f*cking Paxton) runs a private resort off of Costa Rica. As a new group of guests arrive, three of the staff members are brutally murdered by a machete-wielding figure. It’s up to the surviving workers to figure out who the killer is before they become the next victim. Is the slasher: Jenny, the aerobics instructor (Brittany Daniels); Lars, the masseuse (Kevin Heffernan); Sam, the fun policeman (Erik Stolhanske); Juan, the diver (Steve Lemme); Puttman, the tennis instructor (Jay Chandrasekhar); David, the DJ (Paul Soter); Hank, the bodyguard (M.C. Gainey); or Penelope (Jordan Ladd), the mysterious woman with a dark past?

OR IS IT THE THING THEY’RE LOOKING AT???

The answer is: One of them.

END SUMMARY

So, I was 15 when Super Troopers came out, thus making it the funniest movie of all time to me for about three months. You could start routines during lunch in High School and be positive that someone else in the room would finish them. So, three years later, when this movie came out from the same comedy group, I was psyched. Being 18 at the time, I remember thinking this was a great spoof on horror movies. Now, upon being asked to rewatch it… actually, I still think it does a pretty good job of it. However, critics tore it apart like they caught it in bed with their spouses. Not just in bed, even, but like the filmmakers were doing kinky stuff that the critics always wanted their spouses to do but thought they would never agree to. One of the reviews was titled “about as funny as malaria,” and that’s not the worst one. If I was to speculate as to why, it’s that this movie mostly goes for cheap laughs rather than the kind of off-beat routines that made Super Troopers work, but since it’s a parody of formulaic movies, I think that works in its favor.

And many of the jokes are still pretty funny when contrasted with the horror.

One of the most clever things about the movie is that it goes out of its way to make sure that none of the members of Broken Lizard were typecast. All of their characters are massively different in this film than the previous one, which helps to also showcase the range that each of them is capable of. I particularly think that Kevin Heffernan and Jay Chandrasekhar went in wildly different directions, with Heffernan playing the pacifist in contrast with his crazy aggressive role as Farva and Chandrasekhar playing the British-accented perpetual loser in contrast with his cocky role as the leader of the troopers. Each of the characters is a pretty shallow archetype, but since it’s a slasher film, that’s pretty much how it’s supposed to be.

This was the raging a-hole and the cool guy in the last movie. So versatile.

I’m just going to take a moment right here and say that I miss Bill Paxton even more when I watch this movie, because he is probably the standout. He’s clearly supposed to be a Jimmy Buffett parody, including having a hit song called “Piña-Coladaburg” which he performs during the film. This becomes even funnier at some points in the movie that I don’t want to spoil, but suffice it to say that the songs he does in the film are such perfect parodies that Jimmy Buffett himself asked if he could sing them on tour. I’m not sure why they apparently answered “no,” given that most people like free money and free promotion, unless they were going to put Bill Paxton in concert as Coconut Pete. Now I’m sad that that will never happen.

R.I.P., you beautiful soul.

Another thing I really appreciate about the movie is that it doesn’t shy away from the kills. While they’re not particularly creative, they’re accompanied by buckets of blood like you would expect from Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s also got a pretty high body count, even for one of the films that this movie is parodying. It also embraces some of the bigger cliches of the genre and exaggerates them to the point of inanity in solid ways.

Like not hearing a murder from 6 feet away.

The last thing I love is the reveal of the killer. I’m not going to say who it was, but I will perpetually remember that it’s exactly the kind of insane twist that you’d expect from a bad slasher movie, thus it perfectly works here.

He had grass. My Grass.

Overall, I will fight that this is a fun horror comedy as long as you’re a few drinks in. Grab some pumpkin spice margaritas and give it a watch this Halloween. 

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