Just so you know this going into my review, I had no fucking clue who Lil’ Dickey or Dave Burd was until my brother recommended watching DAVE SEASON 1 during quarantine. But I do know who co-creator/writer Jeff Schaffer is, who has done numerous fantastic projects such as: Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bruno, Eurotrip….yet unfortunately provided the screenplay to Mike Myers’ The Cat In The Hat…oops. But anyway, setting that one misstep aside, I ultimately decided to dig in because of his involvement, and I’m glad I did, this show is excellent. Watched all 10 episodes in a little over 24 hrs (this series wasn’t released all at once, it started in March and just ended a couple of weeks ago), and am happy it was announced that a Season 2 was coming eventually, even though Season 1 feels pretty self contained and could’ve ended there. Going back and doing some research on Lil’ Dickey, can’t say I’m a huge fan of his work outside of this show, but I do understand the appeal, but to be fair I’ve only seen two of his videos so far, maybe I need to do some more back cataloging to get fully on board. But I am fully on board the show, as Dave Burd’s writing on this series far surpasses what I’ve seen of his older stuff on You Tube. What confuses me a little bit is when I recently posted on social media that I was digging the show, some of the comments listed several of the episodes being, and I directly quote, “Weak AF”. Especially some messaged me a specific episode to explain where they were coming from…and I have to disagree on their analysis completely. But that is what this review is for. Sorry, I know if it would’ve been humorous and ironic if I had done another rhyme poem on this, especially for those fans reading this that are also huge fans of Lil’ Dickey, but I save those for movies/television shows that truly suck ass, and this is the exact opposite of sucks ass.
Dave is on FX/Hulu and IMDB.com describes it as, “The series stars a fictionalized version of Lil’ Dickey, a neurotic mid 20’s suburbanite who is convinced he’s destined to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Now he’s got to prove it to everyone else.” It fails to mention that he is White & Jewish, which is a big factor in how he is treated in his career by others. Also, some (if not most) of his content might be very weird and pretty offensive to some. Again, while I might not be the biggest fan of his previous work (I don’t hate it, it’s just not my cup of tea, kind of like content that tries to sing regular dialogue and count that as music, aka Les Miserables), the show worked for me 100%. It’s freaking hilarious, the pilot titled “The Gander’, the 3rd episode titled ‘Hypospadias’ and the season finale titled ‘Jail’ probably getting the biggest laughs out of me all of 2020 so far, and when it isn’t funny, it’s heartfelt, focusing intently on character depth and development. Speaking of depth and development, when looking up or hearing about what people think of the show, many do up liking it overall, but have cited some of the episodes being, “weak as fuck,” specifically referencing Episode 5 entitled, ‘Hype Man.’ Ummmm…I don’t know what you were talking about, but that was one of the strongest (if not THE strongest) episodes of this series so far and maybe one of the strongest half hour television comedy episodes I’ve seen so far this year. Sure, it didn’t have that many laughs, and Lil’ Dickey himself was barely featured in it, and instead it focused on his real life hype man named Gata, but man, was that a fantastically written half hour. I don’t really want to give much away, but the episode concludes with one of the most tear inducing confessions I have ever witnessed on television. It felt honest and realistic. That episode moved me, and I can’t say even half as much about other episodes of television these days.
See, the problem sometimes is that when you tell someone that a half hour program is a comedy, and they go into it thinking it is a straight one, and they don’t end up getting minute by minute laughs, sometimes they will end up being really disappointed. Maybe it was the marketing of the show, or the marketing of Lil’ Dickey outside of the show, I don’t know, I didn’t see much marketing (if any) for Dave because I don’t have cable with commercials anymore. It’s streaming services without them or bust for me. At any rate, marketing or not, with any show, comedy, drama, etc., you need to have an open mind. Sometimes a comedy can be more than just a crude humor laugh a minute fest and sometimes a drama can be more than depressing moments of people screaming at each other with a pinch of violence every now and then. Sometimes what you think will be a cheesy romantic chick flick turns out to even outsmart your expectations with some side steps that subvert your expectations. Sometimes, and most of those sometimes are in the best ways possible, they can transcend. Dave might not be the laugh a minute comedy you hope for, but it is the dramedy filled character depth and developmental story that you need right now. When all ten episodes were said and done, I felt like I knew these characters, knew they’re layers, and knew that none of them were one dimensional. Needless to say I can’t wait for Season 2.
And even though it sounds like he’s about to lisp every other word, Lil’ Dickey can act and he has this sense of presence about him. If I were to compare this show to something else, I would say that this show feel a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm, if Larry David were a much younger Jewish rapper. Larry David isn’t much of an actor in the beginning seasons, but some on years later, Larry David is a warm felt presence on that show. Here, by the end of episode ten, Lil’ Dickey already has a warm presence with me, and it’s just the first season. Everyone around him, even including his real hype man, Gata, do fantastic jobs with their acting chops. They surround themselves with some veterans like Christine Ko, Taylor Misiak, and Andrew Santino, and it seems like they have been acting for years, even though its their freshman run. In the end, if you are reading this, and are thinking about giving this show a chance, please give it to the end of episode three. That’s all I ask, then, if that hilarious episode along intrigues you, but you hope to find more out of the comedy than just really funny and smartly written sex jokes and situation, continue till episode 5. If episode 5 doesn’t win you over, than there is nothing more the show could off you and you should just quit. And it’s okay, everyone has different tastes, but don’t not like the show, or think it is “weak AF” just because you go into it with the wrong expectations. If you’ve read my review, and are going to check it out, I hope I’ve given you the correct ones. If you end up enjoying it as much as I did, then mission accomplished.