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5 things to know about HBO’s silly sports documentary spoof ‘7 Days in Hell’

Senior Television Writer
07.10.15 23 Comments

HBO

A few things to know about “7 Days in Hell,” the sports mockumentary debuting on HBO tomorrow night at 10 (and which Fienberg and I discussed more at length on this week's podcast):

* Written by Murray Miller and directed by Jake Szymanski, it's essentially a Funny or Die sketch expanded to its maximum acceptable length, which is a shade over 40 minutes. It tells every possible joke about a Wimbledon match that won't end – plus a few completely unrelated ones – and then stops before it wears out its welcome.

* You would expect Andy Samberg to be good as an Agassi-esque tennis bad boy, but Kit Harington is just as much fun as his dim-witted English opponent. And the special makes good use of both comic actors (Will Forte, Michael Sheen, Mary Steenburgen, Lena Dunham) and actual tennis folk (Serena Williams, John McEnroe) for all the talking head segments. In particular, Sheen is so good as a creepy English chat show host that I had a hard time adjusting to him in his more serious role on “Masters of Sex.”

* Miller and Szymanski have clearly watched a lot of HBO Sports and ESPN documentaries. They nail all the beats of the form even as they take the concept to absurd places.

* If you feel Harington's other HBO show has been lacking in the male full frontal nudity department, “7 Days in Hell” makes up for that nicely, in both live action and animated form.

Quick, easy, filthy, stupid, funny. You don't need to know anything more.

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