Crashing returns for a second season on January 14th, 10:30pm on HBO.
For those who missed Crashing‘s first season, the story is reestablished quickly in the sophomore opener. Pete Holmes (played by, yes, Pete Holmes) is now living in the garage of the man his ex-wife had an affair with, trying to make it as a stand-up comedian at nights. The biggest change comes in breaking last year’s format, where Pete would crash on a different comedian’s couch each episode, allowing for a plethora of guest stars to pass through the show. Now that the protagonist is more familiar with the New York comedy scene, Crashing is able to build off of the first eight episodes and truly explore a struggling comic’s life.
In season one, the episodes dealt with Pete’s devout Christian beliefs but never really utilized that unique characteristic well. It’s not often we see real religious characters on television. In season two, that fact is expertly written into the storylines, as Pete begins to question his views. There’s also a fun relationship he forms with Jamie Lee’s new character. Later in the season, fans will get to see Artie Lange return in a fantastic episode.
At the same time, I can’t help but feel the show is slightly pitiful of Pete. That makes sense given that Crashing is semi-autobiographical, yet you can’t shake the feeling that Holmes is not actually that funny (or at least this fictionalized version of him isn’t). He’s a mediocre comedian that gets a leg up by climbing the social ladder.
To be fair, Holmes is aware of this. In the third episode there’s a particular edgy exchange with guest star Bill Burr to which Pete quips “Just two white men on a golf course, discussing reproductive rights.” Yes, Crashing is focused on a white guy’s struggles at a time when many people are going through so much more, but if you judge the show on its own merits, it’s hard to not enjoy it.
I give Crashing Season 2 an A-.