Showtime’s new comedy formula = multiple personality disorder?

When this thing looks like that thing looks suspiciously like the other thing, that's what the mainstream media calls a trend.

So what should we make of Showtime's original programming for comedy series? It appears that whomever is greenlighting new series responds quite well to any pitch in which the protagonist is not the person you think she or he is. You could argue that's true for a lot of their popular shows — Weeds (mom is a drug dealer?), Dexter (police investigator is a serial killer?), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (she's a call girl?) — but it's especially true of three of their comedy series, two of which air new episodes tonight, and one of which debuts tonight.

I know TV network executives like to replicate success whenever they can (see: NBC's Thursday night, in which The Office spawned Parks and Recreation, for merely one of a million such examples). So point-counterpoint taken.

That said, Showtime now has three comedy series on its premium-pay cable channel in which the protagonist wants everyone around them to believe they are several different people. For the self-aware people on the Internet, Toni Collette has won the Golden Globe and Emmy for portraying a woman with dissociate identity disorder in The United States of Tara. Here is her interview from a year ago about playing the roles:

But in even more of a comedy vein, Tracey Ullman has pretended to be many different famous people over the years, and she does so again for a third season on Showtime starting tonight in Tracey Ullman's State of the Union:

And tonight marks the debut of fellow British comedian Marc Wootton, who tricks real people into thinking he is one of three different fame-seeking Hollywood characters in his new series, La La Land. Roll this clip!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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One thought on “Showtime’s new comedy formula = multiple personality disorder?

  1. HBO – “Hung” (He’s a male prostitute with a huge cock!)…oh wait, that’s me.
    Wootton is a third-rate SB Cohen ripoff!

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