‘The Joel McHale Show’ - aka ‘The Soup,’ but on Netflix

 Netflix released its own version of “The Soup” Sunday, once again starring Joel McHale, and aptly named “The Joel McHale Show.” (screengrab/Netflix)

Netflix released its own version of “The Soup” Sunday, once again starring Joel McHale, and aptly named “The Joel McHale Show.” (screengrab/Netflix)

Netflix released its own version of “The Soup” Sunday, once again starring Joel McHale, and aptly named “The Joel McHale Show.”

In the words of another Netflix star Mick Colter during an appearance on the show, “Finally happened, they (Netflix) ran out of ideas.”

“The Joel McHale Show” is painfully familiar, as it follows the same structure as shows like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and, obviously, “The Soup,” but in a less appealing way. McHale seems kind of out of it during the first episode, as if he doesn’t really see the point of his show either.

This is shown most clearly through the theme of self-deprecation toward his own show and toward Netflix itself. One of his segments takes the audience through a tour of the Netflix headquarters, where random actors from other Netflix shows aimlessly open pickle jars and work at coffee shops. Two of McHale’s co-stars from the sitcom “Community,” Alison Brie and Jim Rash, make an appearance and mention that they also star on Netflix shows. This gives off the sense that Netflix will give anyone a show, just to make more shows.

McHale also makes fun of the writers of the show, especially on the name of one of the segments: “Sports Segment.” He calls the writers lazy, but doesn’t really pull off a joking vibe when he says it.

The main idea of the show is a look at recent pop culture in the form of video clips. Some of the clips were funny, like the montage of people being dramatically hit by vehicles in South Korean television. But the laugh tracks made the show seem stale and forced.

The show tried to carry its pilot on the backs of famous actors. There were a good handful of recognizable people throughout the episode, including an appearance by Kevin Hart at the very beginning. The problem with starting the show with so many celebrities is that they can’t possibly keep it up. Unless they manage to get more famous people to appear on the remaining 12 episodes of this season, there will be nothing holding viewers’ interest and its ratings will plummet. At the same time, the popularity of a show should really be based on its content, not the residual popularity of visiting stars, otherwise there’s really no point.

Besides the occasional funny video or well-timed comment, the only thing actually enjoyable and original about the show is the end-credits song. It was basically a riff about how no one watched the end credits on Netflix so what’s the point of writing a song for it. At the same time, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny and no one should ever have to wait until the end credits of a comedy show to find something funny.

In essence, this show wasn’t very special or funny. It was just the same old same old for television, which just goes to show that Netflix really is running out of ideas. If you liked “The Soup,” though, you’ll probably enjoy its clone, so go ahead and give it a watch.


Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.maher@uconn.edu.