Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 1/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 2/5
I just do not get the hype around ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’. The show is trending in the top 10 on Netflix, indicating a strong sentiment among viewers. For years, critics and audiences have been at loggerheads. Prevailing perception dictates that the former’s word has more value than the latter in determining the objective quality of anything made in this space. Numerous instances have proven wrong the notion.
In the past, an overtly critical view has not taken content at face value. Instead, metrics suited to bring the show/film down have been used. Glee, The Witcher, and any Gerard Butler rom-com are some examples. But this time, the critics are right. I stand with my brethren in denouncing the Netflix original as nonsensical. Come what may, ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’ is not a good television show by any stretch of the imagination.
Melissa McCarthy has arguably been one of the most cherished comic faces in the last decade. She has racked up impressive box office performers under her belt. Projects like Bridesmaid, Spy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and most recently, The Starling, also showcase her mettle as an actor who can seamlessly fit any kind of role. Her adventures with husband Ben Falcone, though, have been less than impressive. ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’ goes on top of that list by default.
Falcone and McCarthy play the protagonist pair, Clark and Amily, who are employees of Arrista, a tech support center. One day suddenly, Clark is hit by an unusual cloud of rain and lightning. Post that, he notices changes in himself, the foremost being that he “glows”. Not the “oh, you’re pregnant” glow either. He literally glows.
Clark turns into an instant, nationwide phenomenon. The story about him polarizes the masses. Chamuel, an Archangel, explains to Clark why he has been “chosen” by God to spread his message. With the support of his friends and Amily, Clark embarks on a journey to make God’s gospel a reality. That is where the premise and plot end.
Disillusioned and disjointed pieces of story then follow in such poorly written episodes that you’d wonder if they’re getting paid at all. The dialogue is lackluster and nonsensical, seldom making the cut to even feature in a YouTube video. It never connects the two characters who share a conversation. A rhythmic back and forth and subsequent buildup by allied subjects around the two characters in focus is the most common route to sculpting comedy that is not only funny but also has a sense of belonging to this level.
If ‘GFI’ is a situational comedy, then the genre is doomed. The writers pass off lazy offshoots as something we should laugh about. Calling the show aggressively unfunny with cartoonish characters wouldn’t have itself make the criticism valid. Men and women before ‘GFI’ have proven even this strategy can work. But, oh God, the effort in ‘GFI’ is so bad, that it almost makes me want to rip the hair out of my head.
Almost unconsciously, both McCarthy and Falcone and the rest of the cast characterize the group of co-workers as painfully unbearable and vanilla. It is the weirdest, stupidest, and a most gullible group of people I have ever seen. Who talks like that? How can grown people be this naive? Falcone’s creative choices are insulting to the audience’s intellect.
Probably making it a bit less diverse and limiting the scope of their interactions would have been more fruitful. I cannot stand to watch McCarthy’s boorish Amily go on and on about how she will punch, kill, and eviscerate those who try to hurt Clark. It is not adorable in the last bit; just perverse and insensible. Imagine the tables being turned? You know the answer.
In most parts, ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’ comes across as trying too hard. So hard, that skipping their monotonous blabber seems the logical choice. You are not missing out on anything when you do so. The beat remains the same; the joke is again something crass, facetious, and woefully misplaced and detached from the context.
Stuff like “pleasurable sauna” and “genital scent perfumes” belong to the 2000’s and in hindsight, probably not even there. These dated themes are stuffed down our throats in the hopes of seeing something even slightly positive come out on the other side. Falcone’s staging of Biblical figures like God, Satan, Archangels, and the Four Horsemen (or ‘people’, as the McCarthy-looking “War” keeps screaming) on Earth might have sounded great on paper. The absurdist genre is increasingly attracting growing crowds to it.
There’s a play within the show featuring Tom (Chris Sandiford) and Amily as Toleknian characters. It is barely on for five minutes in the entire series but is much better poised to take off than ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’. This Netflix show is a huge disappointment, especially considering it has someone of McCarthy’s caliber in the cast.
To be honest, I took on the challenge of reviewing it seeing McCarthy was part of the show. Bottom line: skip ‘God’s Favorite Idiot’ and save yourself from being made a fool of. It is a waste of your precious time and the world’s scarce resources.
Verdict - 3/10