I have two television shows, both on the Tru Channel, that I recommend to you. One is sheer entertainment that pushes the envelope in ways that today’s television shows and movies have failed to do. The other is an enlightened, funny, show about knowledge and our lack of it.
First, sheer entertainment: that would be The Carbonaro Effect starring Michael Carbonaro, a magician and actor, who sets up unsuspecting people with magical moments, funny and quite often hysterical, that warps the world for those selected people.
This is an original show that pushes the envelope.
Now most shows and movies today push the envelope by having major scenes taking place in the bathroom, public and private, often with people pooping or peeing; or having one or a few of the characters vomiting with gobs of off-white or brown or tan gobs of puke shooting out of their mouths, then dripping down their chins and onto their shirts or blouses.
We see graphic killings all the time, and people wasting movie-goer and television-viewers’ time rolling around having sex or talking about sex or making sex a part of movies that aren’t actually about sex. Sex often slows down the action of the movie.
Now, I am as au courant as the next au courant person and I can understand why some of the modern pushing of the envelope is necessary at certain distinct times but seriously it is has gotten ridiculous that many a good work becomes snickerable and loses its intended impact.
But The Carbonaro Effect plays with reality, distorts it. Michael Carbonaro has fun with changing the reality in our everyday lives and his chosen subjects are often shocked, amazed, and even scared by what they experience. No vomiting, no pooping, no peeing. In short, the show is totally refreshing and truly unique in our landscape of artistic dreck.
Michael takes on various roles as store clerks, managers, executives. It’s funny when a delivery man from a Chinese restaurant delivers a fresh crab sandwich only to discover when Michael opens it that real living crabs crawling around inside. Or when a horse seemingly moves from one outdoor painting at an art gallery to another painting where it is now at an indoor party scaring everyone sedately seating and talking. Or when Michael levitates himself in a store in front of several witnesses. Or when he gets gallons of orange juice from a single orange at a fruit kiosk. Or…dozens of dozens of magical stunts!
Next comes Adam Ruins Everything starring a brilliant Adam Conover. Adam tackles serious issues in a lightly humorous way. Today I watched him skewer conspiracy theorists, Listerine, flushable wipes, sewage, antibiotics, pregnancy, birth, being a scientist, a woman’s clock ticking, breast feeding, Christopher Columbus, King Tut, grammar and why hospital charges are so grossly high.
Every show tackles knowledge and history that most of us take for granted about which, sadly, most of us are partially or completely wrong. It is a funny get-rid-of-your-misconceptions show. Did you know that Listerine started as a floor cleaner? It didn’t make enough money, so the owners just changed it into a mouthwash without altering any of its ingredients; now it cleans your floor and freshens your breath!
Adam Ruins Everything couples sketch comedy with a profound understanding of what’s what about the “whats” of the world. Every piece of information is referenced in a clever way and his expert guest stars contribute enormously to the show.
Who knew that learning why you are so wrong about so many things could be so much fun?
These two shows are worth your time. Magic and meaning—an unbeatable combination!
Frank’s latest books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic; I Am a Dice Controller and I Am a Card Counter. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.