“Spy” is one of those comedies that is going to make you want to convert all of your money to pounds, buy four Pulp tee-shirts, and start calling your apartment a flat. But there’s one thing keeping you from making “I hate you all! I’m moving to Wandsworth!” your de facto threat to friends when someone cuts you off in traffic, and it’s this: This show might sound a whole lot like “Chuck.”
Yep, “Spy’s” Tim used to work at an electronics store and he’s been secretly (accidentally, actually) recruited to become an MI5 spy. That’s correct.
But “Spy” is like “Chuck” in the same way “Lassie” is like “Teen Wolf.” Sure, they’re both about canines, but Lassie never spent a whole episode stressing about eating people alive at prom.
“Spy” is smart and awkward and unique and very, wonderfully British, but only in the good ways, and it’s available exclusively in the U.S. on Hulu starting today.
Here’s an example of the British part, to get that out of the way: A 9-year-old almost immediately uses the word “torpid” before talking relatively graphically about why his dad is totally sexually undesirable. We’re talking in the first two minutes of the show, he does this.
The rest is universal, and it acts more like critically acclaimed standouts “Louie” and “Parks & Recreation” than any other show.
Tim, for example, is beginning to hate his very terrible kid—and you will, too—but he has to care for him anyway. So prepare for insults lobbed at a 9-year-old from Tim’s friends that you will pocket and later use in line at a mall while holiday shopping. It’s almost a public service for jokes you can text to your friends about unwieldy preteens.
But the big, high-concept humor—where Tim is very consistently in the wrong place—is what keeps you around. Not just because it’s funny, but because the show has a ton of heart. You desperately want to root for this guy to show up his kid, his ex, and his ex’s stupid new boyfriend. It’s a setup for an enormous, cathartic triumph.
And if you’re not into enormous, cathartic triumphs, Tim is played by a 6’4″ Darren Boyd, who the show’s directors always seem to put in tiny chairs. And if that’s not enough for you to watch both this show and “Chuck,” you have never seen a giant man in a tiny chair before.