“Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” and “Psychoville”
When it comes to television, horror fans are typically mislead in the realm of comedies. Sure, executives try to draw us in with catchy titles, but for those who don’t know, “Mad Men” is not about a group of raving psychos, and “Two and a Half Men” is not about the wacky misadventures of two guys living with a disembodied torso. For a long while we’ve had nowhere to turn, but those lovable lunatics over at FEARnet have our collective backs. And they’re showing their love by bringing out their new “Twisted Comedy” block, which consists of two shows, the Canadian-shot “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” and BBC import “Psychoville”.
The first, “TatBoPE”, is a stoner comedy about a high school outcast, his one-armed best friend, the girl upon whom he crushes and the one who crushes on him, an evil guidance counselor, and a janitor who is played by Jason Mewes. Oh, and there’s this book that vaguely resembles the Necronomicon that, for some reason, is hidden somewhere in the high school, which seems to be run by a cult of hooded, mustacheoed bad guys. All of this with seriously sarcastic dialogue and death metal music.
The second, “Psychoville”, first appeared on the BBC in 2009 and certainly lives up to its name. It begins with a masked man in black writing elaborate notes while standing in line at the Post Office and mailing them to victims which include a former porn star dwarf, a rich blind Beanie Baby collector, a serial killer who is fascinated with serial killers, a woman who carries a baby doll around like it’s a real baby, and a one-handed angry clown. While the first episode serves primarily to introduce us to the characters, it also gives a heavy dose of British surrealistic comedy that makes the series instantly addictive.
The programs tend to play to different ends of the comedy spectrum. One relies on ridiculous stoner humor and is like a Nickelodian program gone horribly awry, while the other contains more dark, dry humor that is like looking at the world through a funhouse mirror. They run as different as your tastes allow. For me “Psychoville” is the superior program, but only marginally so. They’re both entertaining in their own way.
4 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5