2019 Favorites: February — Desus & Mero Return On Showtime
The Bodega Boys remain themselves, and thus, remain great.
In a venture that is equal parts keeping track of some of the favorite things that happen in 2019 and also stretching my writing muscles to think about things other than sports (and more specifically), I’m going to post about my favorite things I come by each month. That includes anything from a movie to a tweet to a great meal. Here’s to enjoying, and remembering, the best parts of the year.
Favorite of the month: Desus & Mero’s return
Chemistry is a simple concept with a lot of variables. If people clearly enjoy each other and working together, it’s almost a tangible, magnetic force that makes something fun to watch regardless of its success. It’s what makes comedy duo Desus & Mero intoxicating, and it’s what also keeps them from getting tiresome.
Desus Nice and The Kid Mero play off each other in a way that can only come from living on the same page. Even when it seems like they talk over each other, one of them clears out for the other to get to the next point, thought or punchline, and then they follow up with a big laugh or another (often louder and faster) sentence that keeps makes your chuckle boil over into stomach-hurting laughter.
So when the show moved from Vice to Showtime — thus increasing the show’s hypothetical production value — all I personally cared about was maintaining the best part of the show: Desus & Mero talking about the topics of the day, mostly clowning and letting the audience laugh with them as long as they can keep up.
Naturally, on the show itself and in all interviews leading up to it, the Bodega Boys delivered.
Whether they chopped it up with Jimmy Kimmel Fallon or fighting off hot sauces on Hot Ones, it’s been clear the two know exactly what makes them such a reliably good time.
Maybe that’s what’s most encouraging about watching Desus & Mero. Even when they’re out of their supposed element — doing skits, appearing on YouTube shows, appearing on The View (!!!) — they take over and put their stamp on it. The hosts can’t ever do anything but succumb to the bubbling laughter the two coax out of everyone they talk to on camera.
I guess the biggest feeling emanating from their return to television is that they’re still exactly who they were when they left in June 2018. It’s relief that a good thing can remain so even after time away. They didn’t return as a parody of themselves. They continue to ride the culture wave while also somehow telling the wave where to go. They’re right amount of “bro” in the sense that their conversations are what you’d think they’d be between two best friends, but also without allowing each other to go down an ill-fated rant or string of thoughts.
On Hot Ones, they said it best:
“If you watch the progression of our comedy, there’s certain jokes that we used to do that we won’t do anymore because as we’ve experienced the world and we’ve come across different people, we realized that the humor hits differently, that a certain joke that might’ve been funny four years ago — you actually meet a person from this specific group and you’re like, ‘Oh, shit. I didn’t even know that was offensive,’” Desus said.
“Yes, we’re from the Bronx so it’s like, ‘Ah, ah, suck my dick’ and all that shit, but we’re not in the crosshairs of PC culture like that because we’re not fighting against it.”
Desus & Mero make looking funny seem easy. Just sit down, joke around with your friend with minimal formatting, and occasionally have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez come on to talk about Bodegas and explaining marginal tax rates. It’s really that simple.
Good Will Hunting:
Not to sound extremely 23 years old, but I had no idea “How do you like them apples?” came from this movie, but apparently it did. Regardless, this movie was funnier and more thoughtful than I thought it was going to be. About 40 minutes in, I was already ready to watch it again.
High Flying Bird (Netflix):
Stephen Soderberg’s latest, iPhone-shot movie sizzles for its entire 90-minute runtime. A movie more about the culture and business of basketball is somehow one of the better basketball-centric movies in a long time. The dialogue is grounded and real. Andre Holland carries a “I got this” attitude in his character that keeps you intrigued, and keeps you guessing.
Sex Education (Netflix):
This show starts fast, moves fast, but the payoffs still feel earned and not played for cheap emotional pulls. Yes, there’s some classically campy high school drama. But the show gives many of its characters room to build out past their obvious stereotypes. Asa Butterfield’s main character is sheepish but can connect with his classmates in a special way. His best friend Eric experiences trauma he must work past. The star athlete works through anxiety. One episode spends a lot of time around an abortion clinic. None of this show uses those as tools to Teach A Lesson. It just happens, as often things just happen in life.
Minding the Gap (Hulu):
A beautiful and devastating look at a few lives of small-town skaters who are at once battling adulthood and also themselves. I’m also generally in the bag for any emotional, skateboarding, friend-making movies.
Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding, Cornish Pasty (Phoenix, AZ):
I don’t understand what counts as bread pudding, but all I know is this was a chocolatey, fluffy, kind of crispy and surprisingly light dessert to end a belated Valentine’s date night. Choosing ice cream to go with it is definitely the move.