Comedy Central has gotten a lot of deserved press and acclaim (including from me) for Broad City, a stoner female buddy comedy spun off from a web series. But the channel has another stoner female buddy comedy spun off from a web series that's turned out to be a whole lot of fun in its own right: Jillian Bell and Charlotte Newhouse's Idiotsitter, which is in the home stretch of season 2.
Newhouse plays Billie, a well-educated but cash-strapped woman at a crossroads, who takes what she thinks is a nanny job for a rich couple's young daughter, but instead involves her playing tutor, chaperone, and friend to the 25-year-old Gene (Bell), a wealthy idiot under house arrest in the mansion of her father Kent (Stephen Root).
It's a comedy less notable for the stories than for the off-kilter tone, as the relatively sensible Billie gets sucked deeper and deeper into Gene's ignorant, slightly insane worldview. The clip embedded above this paragraph, from the start of this week's episode (it premieres Thursday night at 10:30), should give you a sense of things, in that the story – Billie is depressed to hear from her successful ex-boyfriend – seems conventional, but the way the jokes fly don't. Not everything works, but when one of the ideas hit, Idiotsitter can be incredibly funny, and amusingly weird enough the rest of the time to make the wait for a big laugh worth it.
(The previous eight episodes are all available to watch on ComedyCentral.com; if you're looking for one to sample, I'd highly recommend the third episode, “Funeral.”)
Bell and Newhouse haven't come out of nowhere – Bell is a fixture on Workaholics, and Newhouse has guest starred on shows like Community and The Big Bang Theory – but like Abbi and Ilana from Broad City, and like lots of other TV comedians, they had to create their own show to truly show off what they can do.
“If you look at any comedian who 'Comes out of nowhere,'” Newhouse told me last week in a joint interview with Bell, “first, they've probably been working forever. But, second, it seems like they came out of nowhere because they've written for themselves.”
“We're in a place now where you have to find your voice and use it in writing something for yourself, or together with a partner,” added Bell. “I was lucky enough to find Charlotte, and we have the same sense of humor and respect the same TV shows and movies. We were lucky enough that it came together that we could work on this.”
Before you check it out, here are some other things you might want to know about Idiotsitter: