It’s not often a show that features two ad execs throwing office objects at a pane of unbreakable glass, and crafting pitches while high on decades-old diet pills, will also wind up tugging at your heartstrings — but Comedy Central’s “Detroiters,” which officially debuts Feb. 7 but whose pilot is online now, does just that.
Toplined by “Veep’s” Sam Richardson and gone-too-soon “SNL” player Tim Robinson, it should come as no surprise that “Detroiters” delivers when it comes to comedy. Richardson and Robinson are more than able performers of both subtlety and absurdity, and the show boasts “SNL” alums Zach Kanin and Joe Kelly as fellow co-creators, and Lorne Michaels and Jason Sudeikis as executive producers.
Eponymous characters Sam and Tim are two incompetent best friends who have fallen into running Cramblin Advertising: A once-prestigious Detroit ad agency led by Tim’s dad until he wound up in a psychiatric hospital. Now stuck making low-budget local commercials, in the pilot (Feb. 7) the duo is trying to land a huge ad campaign with Chrysler marketing exec Carter Grant (Sudeikis). What ensues is at times classic Comedy Central humor — from Sam and Tim’s over-the-top idea of pitching a commercial featuring a topless girl at a tattoo parlor, to absurd asides like a bar that serves its beer hot and in doggie bags.
But for all its insanity, it’s also impossible to ignore the friendship between the two leads. Sam and Tim’s bromance rivals that of Scrubs’ JD and Turk, and it serves as the foundation for the quiet emotional power of the show. Between their incompetence and unflinching support for each other, it’s near impossible not to root for the pair’s success.
In fact, “Detroiters” is not a far cry from “Better Call Saul,” in that it makes endearing drama out of professional underdogs struggling to live up to greater family members — doing their best to pick themselves up and put in a hard day’s work.
Despite the surplus of male leads on television, it’s still refreshing to see two as soft and heartfelt as these guys are. In the pilot, we get a glimpse of Tim’s role as worrisome husband to tough blue-collar wife Chrissy (Shawntay Dalon) — who happens to be Sam’s sister — as Sam pins his own aspirations to his dream board.
Which is just what these two guys are, really — hopeless dreamers — although they might just tell you they’re living the dream already.
“Detroiters” airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. The pilot is available now at CC.com.