A Good Kind of Backwash?

Earlier today, Crackle debuted the first three episodes of Joshua Malina’s new web-series Backwash. The series, which also stars Michael Panes and Michael Ian Black, is an interesting mix of surrealist humor and satire. But, it wasn’t as strong as I expected it to be.

Having been a fan of Malina’s dating back to Sports Night, I was hoping to love Backwash unabashedly. Alas, I do not. Episodes of Backwash are between 7-9 minutes in length, including intros and outros from famous guest stars. In all 7 of the episodes that I’ve seen, the guest star is the funniest part.

The over-arcing story, a tale of three friends and the adventures they face after inadvertently robbing a bank, is broad in the worst way possible. Many of the jokes feel way too on the nose, and the dialogue is forced throughout. Yet, there were moments when I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Malina, who has never written anything prior to Backwash, relies on cartoonish humor to propel the series. That technique, however, tires quickly. Still, Backwash is worth watching, if only for its impressive array of guest stars. Jon Hamm is very funny in the series premiere, as is Hank Azaria in the series’ second episode. Of those coming up in the next few weeks, Ken Marino and Michael Vartan steal the show.

Watch Backwash here.


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