TV Review: Drunk History, ‘New Jersey’

Drunk-History-use

Drunk History Season 3 Premiere Plot Summary:

The episode focuses on three New Jersey-centric historical tales. The first looks at Hoboken’s Thaddeus Lowe (Greg Kinnear), a balloonist who was recruited by President Lincoln (Stephen Merchant) to use his balloons to help the Union’s Civil War efforts. The second is the ‘Bone War’s aka the intense rivalry between paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh (Christopher Meloni) and Edward Cope (Tony Hale). The third shines a light on Arno Penzias (Justin Long) and Robert Wilson (Jason Ritter) who helped confirm the Big Bang Theory.

Stephen Merchant and Greg Kenner in Drunk History

Drunk History has become the television equivalent of your go-to beer when you go out to the bar. You know exactly how it looks, smells, and how it tastes as you take a long, reflective sip on it.

By now, you know exactly what you’re getting with Drunk History — stand-up comics get wasted and attempt to retell the story of famous and obscure moments in American history while famous people re-enact what they’re saying. It’s an original concept that really blows you away when you first experience the show. You marvel at how perfect the performances are, and just how outlandishly drunk these comedians are.

However, if you’ve been watching for the series for a while, you know the gimmick. There’s nothing outlandish anymore. The concept doesn’t wow you like it you used to. But that doesn’t mean this show has gone stale. No, in fact it’s become a comfort, a show you can rely on for big belly laughs. It’s like your go-to beer – you know everything about it, but you still are completely satisfied, and you’ll gladly go back for a second round.

The third season premiere, ‘New Jersey,’ obviously hit it out of the park for this reviewer — anytime you can feature Convention Hall in Asbury, and pro wrestling in the interstitials, you’ve made this man very happy. As for the sketches, the premiere was a bit hit-and-miss (hey, you occasionally get a skunk version of your favorite beer, right?). The sketch with Thaddeus Lowe was fine, but there was nothing that really stood out. It came and went and is barely memorable. Things got better with the ‘Bone War’ segment – mostly due to the great physical performances by Christopher Meloni and Tony Hale. The novelty of seeing the usually serious Meloni in a comedic role is still a site to be seen.

Tony Hale and Christopher Meloni in Drunk History.

The top sketch of the night was the closing sketch, and that was mostly due to the narration of the brilliant Jenny Slate. Slate’s giggly, and insightful drunken recounting of Penzias and Wilson’s confirmation of the Big Bang Theory was delightful. Justin Long, and series regular Jason Ritter executed her narration perfectly. Long was particularly brilliant, and it was a fresh reminder that the actor is a pretty damn good comedic force.

Drunk History’s third season is must-watch television. At it’s absolute worst, it still evokes a few chuckles, but it’s rare that this show ever dips into that territory. This is one of the most reliably hilarious shows that you can turn on wherever you are, and just let go and laugh your ass off. You know exactly what you’re getting with this series, and sometimes that’s not a bad thing at all.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Drunk History airs Tuesday nights at 10:30pm on Comedy Central

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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be seven years old in 2016 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He currently works as a project manager in the telecom world, and is a freelance writer for NJ.com. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites