(The ten best comedies of 2012 will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage each weekday of this week. To view the rest of the list, click here.)
9 – Spy
We didn’t think it possible, but Spy’s sophomore season has been even more of a riot—and even riskier—than its first. So we’re guiltlessly sliding it onto this list at No. 9, even though it’s one of our own.
Here’s the rundown. The next paragraph is loaded with spoilers, but we just want to talk about this show. We’re going to do that and we’re going to put it in italics. Feel free to rejoin us in a second.
Tim and Caitlin have finished their training as MI-5 agents. The stakes have increased, considering their misadventures frequently occur when they’re supposed to be defending the country. Marcus and Judith’s contempt for Tim is even more outrageous considering that they have no idea he’s out there fighting for crown and country. (Well, supposedly.) While Marcus is still the megalomaniac he was in Season 1, he’s had to face defeat and rejection, making him vulnerable and a much more sympathetic character, and ultimately a supervillain. The addition of Mark Heap as replacement Phillip was a switch we didn’t even know we wanted, as his obsequiousness seemed to play much better off Judith’s overbearingness. And Chris’ many talents and insane wealth only keep increasing with time. In terms of the MI-5 office, the arrival of Caitlin’s presumed dead fiancé has gotten us to ship harder for Caitlin and Tim (“Caitim?” Nah, but we’ll keep on thinking about it), but we’re glad Portis is around because his inability to role play was nearing disturbing territory. The show took full advantage of the eye (read: the camera), too, by frequently cutting to wider shots revealing more and more people in the room. Never once got tired of it. And the Examiner’s borderline insane behavior makes us wonder when he might snap and become a full-on Bond baddie.
OK. Cool. We’re done spoiling stuff and using British slang now. Promise.
So here’s why, if you haven’t, you need to watch this show: Spy is on its toes in areas where other sitcoms have gotten lazy. The dialogue takes sudden turns that thrust you into weird places, and it blurs the line effortlessly between reality and the absurd within even a brief exchange of dialogue. It’s worth it to find out what the hell we’re talking about.
Here’s the only negative thing we can say about Spy: Its seasons are criminally short. But that only makes us cherish the ones that we have.
I think I legally have to say “Happy Holidays!” after a sentence like that.—Martin Moakler