The best friend storyline for a comedy series is tried and true. It’s relatable, most of all, and hilarious, if the chemistry remains dynamic and, to a certain extent, unpredictable. It’s not as much fun for the viewer if it’s easy to tell what’s coming next in a plot or if jokes are predictable and recycled. In order to keep things fresh, the best friend dynamic is actually quite a hefty responsibility for a comedy series to take on. The key is to make the audience feel like they are a part of that best friendship, and last night’s Idiotsitter, after a hilarious first four episodes, saw Billie’s and Gene’s relationship grow slightly stale.
The events of last night’s episode “Fumigation,” were anything but boring, to be clear. When fumigators come to take care of the mansion’s termite problem, Billie and Gene are left alone for the weekend. Gene’s ankle bracelet gets deactivated in an auspicious turn of events, and the two friends get dressed up and head to a club for some heavy-duty partying. It’s revealed at the end of the episode that Gene and Billie’s night at the club was an elaborate fume-induced hallucination and they are actually just running around like freaks on the front lawn.
The guest star in this episode is Chris Klein — best known for his role as “Oz” in the American Pie franchise — who plays the role of DJ Dog Head, the club’s resident DJ who wears an absurd dog head while he performs, Daft Punk-style. Up until Gene and Billie meet DJ Dog Head about two-thirds of the way through the episode, there aren’t any deserved laughs. Charlotte Newhouse (Billie), at several points in the episode, exhausts the permanently-flustered-and-awkward shtick she favors, and Jillian Bell (Gene) is not on her A-game either, her jokes falling short when they are normally home runs.
The answer? Disrupt the Billie-Gene dynamic a bit more consistently with some outside characters. Last week’s episode with Channing Tatum did a masterful job of this. Gene’s dad (Stephen Root), the dim-witted, excessively rich owner of the mansion, is a great contender, too. More of Gene’s impossibly stupid stepmom (Jennifer Elise Cox) — whose character is a shrewd jab at the overly rich — could do the trick. Billie and Gene are funny, but they could use some outside help from time to time.