Short & Sweet Review: ‘Sarah Silverman Program’


Photo: Steve Agee

Premiere: This Thursday at 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

Premise: A half-hour comedy that follows a day in the life of jobless Sarah, who lives off her nurse sister, watches her favorite TV show Cookie Party, and hangs out with her two next-door neighbors Brian and Steve: “they’re gigantic, orange, and gay.” (They are extremely orange.) Sarah falls into about one bizarre predicament a day—Sarah avoids a wheelchair race; Sarah gets a DUI for imbibing too much cough syrup—which she handles with classic brand of un-P.C. grace.

Press-release sell: “Sarah, who plays herself Laura, her real-life sister who also plays herself, and Brian Posehn and Steve Agee as Sarah’s gay neighbors, all manage to fall into unique, sometimes unsettling and always hilarious predicaments. Whether she’s Sunday brunching, watching TV or reciting Anne Frank’s Diary during the talent portion of a kid’s beauty pageant, Sarah always has a smile on her face . . .”

Highlights: Her Celine Dion clip in a flowy white dress against the rocky, wave-crashing beach to her song “I Pooped” is inspired. Then there’s the usual Sarah-style jokes/societal commentary that Silverman fans enjoy: “Gay!..Oh, I don’t mean gay like homosexual gay, I mean gay, like, retarded.” Or when Sarah goes on the run from the cops and the police officer immediately calls it in: “We have a black male . . .oh sorry [white female]..force of habit.”

Lowlights: Minus the Dion clip, Sarah’s poop jokes get boring after a while. We get it, she’s cute and she poops. You also want to reach into your TV and slap her every once in a while, when her cutesy sorority-girl intonations—”Time to get ready for Cookie Party!!!”—start to grate.

Why is this eerily reminiscent of: To her credit, no other show immediately comes to mind.

Final verdict: A little uneven. Some of the scenes tend to drag; you get the feeling that this would have been better relayed in a stand-up routine than acted out. But perhaps this is growing pains more than anything, and the series will become smoother as it progresses?