If you enjoy surreal sitcom humor that knows no boundaries whatsoever, then binge-watch “The Sarah Silverman Program.” With wickedly clever storylines, bizarre cameos and frenetic musical interludes, Sarah Silverman’s Valley Village is a great comic neighborhood.
Title: “The Sarah Silverman Program”
Year it began: 2007
Where it can be seen: Hulu; Amazon
Who’s in it: Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman, Jay Johnston, Brian Posehn, Steve Agee, Rob Schrab
Typical episode length: 22 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 32
Brief plot description: Living with her dog Doug in a Valley Village apartment paid for by her sister Laura, the self-absorbed Sarah Silverman creates continuous chaos. Friends with her “gaybors” (gay neighbors) Brian and Steve, Sarah often butts heads with Laura’s boyfriend, Officer Jay.
Why it’s worth watching: Great comedy does not merely entertain us; it performs a social service by using exaggeration to expose our weaknesses.
Co-created by Silverman, Schrab and Dan Harmon, “The Sarah Silverman Program” offers great comedy through its truly no-holds-barred critique of privileged Americans. The show satirizes us through its self-obsessed star – Sarah Silverman, a crass, clueless, dangerous and economically dependent narcissist who at each episode’s end communicates to Doug all the wrong moral lessons about her misadventures.
Whether it’s watching a jealous Sarah cause mayhem because she was upset her sister missed their weekly bonding ritual of watching Cookie Party, or a petty Sarah lashing out violently at an unfunny new neighbor who upstaged her, we may well see hints of our own flaws in Silverman.
Great comedy also channels the energy of crossing sacred boundaries. There is no subject too taboo to not become part of a Sarah Silverman Program plotline, whether it’s war crimes, racism, disease, dysfunctional families, sexuality or God. Those who are squeamish about bodily humor should not watch, especially considering that Sarah’s unhealthy obsession with all things excremental is a running gag.
Silverman is a gifted performer. She never breaks character, making a painful spectacle of her maniacally impolite, prejudiced, vindictive and self-centered ways. Other outstanding performances include Posehn and Agee’s “gaybors,” whose slovenly, bro-ish ways charmingly undermine stereotypes about homosexuals, and Johnston’s ridiculously uptight Officer Jay.
The show features excellent guest stars, including Zach Galifianakis as a psychotic homeless person Sarah tries to reform; Andy Samberg as Sarah’s now oversexed childhood imaginary friend; and Adam Carolla as a philosopher of beards.