So I was a little weirded out by my podcast feed recently. Everyone reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine mentions that Zelenskyy (Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy, the current President of Ukraine) is a popular comedian who had a runaway hit show that was some kind of mashup of Veep/ParksnRec/theOffice for Ukrainian politics, which he promptly founded a political party named after said show and became president of Ukraine in a bizarre mirror of the show.
They mention it.
And then they move on. Immediately.
Occasionally one of them will try to explain a bit from the show and it inevitably sounds like a political journalist describing a forgein joke: utterly devoid of any humor whatsoever.
And really, it isnt The Important Thing, so I'm not super hacked off about it...
I went to see what's up.
1. What's going on? (with the podcasts)
2. The show.
1. What's going on? With the podcasts:
The show is in Russian (Zelenskyy's first language) and there is no official English dub. A bunch of the jokes are about how bad he is at fluently speaking formal Ukrainian and involve Russian/Ukrainian homonyms and rhymes. Usually dirty ones. The subtitles that exist are... pretty bad/nonexistent. So... if you don't speak Russian & have at least some familiarity in Ukrainian yourself, it's pretty hard to describe what's actually happening on screen, let alone trying to throw in your own takes on the dirty jokes, so I can see why it doesn't make for compelling audiodrama that the legal department will sign off on.
I don't speak or read either Russian or Ukrainian, which has made things difficult.
2. The show:
Is pretty fucking great! Zelenskyy co-produces and is undeniably having the time of his life. It's very well executed situational comedy even if you can't understand the dialog at all. The props are fantastic. Zelenskyy's face is fantastic. The writing is tight. The camera department is having WAY too much fun. The sets are unreal for a first season show. Everything always calls back when it should. I never knew I wanted a president with THAT look on his face 'til I saw Zelenskyy doin' it with his face. It's Mr. Bean, the best political bits of the Pythons and SNL, and Parks n Rec all rolled up into a funny, fast package...
...that we're all supposed to believe was a total accident and not calculated at all. While he makes joke after joke about Lukashenko and Putin. It's more than a liiiiiiiittle wagthedogish.
There's a strong element of The Good Place in that, at least so far it fancies itself a "teaching show" in that it regularly features flashbacks to Zelenskyy's history-teacher-character giving "what really happened in Ukraine's history" lectures to his students that the show lavishes with screentime. Like Newsroom with more relevance.
But also a bunch of Russian/Ukrainian Beverly Hillbillies inetween lectures.
Its at the All4 for most of the world, and YouTube (sorta not sure??) in the US.
I really especially don't understand what to do with the poster frames on these.
I think... The channel want Russians to stop shooting at Ukrainians, not for us to not watch the video they haven't taken down. But definitely willing to be corrected on that and stop watching.
Protip for the YouTube version: when the valient wonderful attempt at English subtitles ends, switch to Russian, then use YouTube's AutoTranslate (not AutoGenerate!) to get to a... usable English [or your language/locale of choice] approximation(ish?) of what's being said.
I'm at S01E8
EDIT: And it’s back on Netflix!
Last edited by Beeg (2022-03-23 09:22:30)