One of the biggest problems that Comedy Bang! Bang! must face is the translation of its podcast characters into TV characters. Consider the fact that many of the most popular characters in CBB history that have made the transition (like Paul F. Tompkins’ Andrew Lloyd Webber and Garry Marshall or Bobby Moynihan’s Fourvel), have had hours of character background over the course of several episodes, filled with plenty of improvisation. One slight word play trick or bout of confusion can create whole new levels of depth in a character. These multilayered characters have about five minutes to present themselves (who they are, and what makes them so great) in an episode, but when they can pull it off, it makes for a great episode, like in tonight’s “Jenna Fischer Wears A Floral Blouse and Black Heels,”.
The entire episode is framed by a “Who Has Done It?,” plot, as a crew member has been killed, leaving a mystery for the stain expert/inspector (Jason Alexander). With six suspects, the inspector tries to find the killer, but whenever he gets ready to assign guilt to someone, that person gets killed. Alexander is an interesting addition to this world, but the situation itself brings more laughs than Alexander’s inspector.
Jenna Fischer makes the second Office cast member in a row to appear on the couch, and most of her segment focuses on her past in The Office. For example, Scott points out that Pam should’ve ended up with Roy instead of that jerk Jim who was always sniffing around her desk. Also great is Fischer admitting that she appeared on the British version of CBB, known as BBCBB and also on the Transylvanian version, entitled Comedy Fang! Fang!, a great reference to the Halloween episodes of the podcast.
But the real stars of the episode are the Calvins twins, played by Taran Killam and Paul Brittain. The brothers are famous for the horse fights to the death that they set up every day, which ultimately leaves them surrounded by dead horses. But the first rule of horse fighting is, you gotta laugh! Killam and Brittain are absolutely hilarious together, so much so that Aukerman and Fischer can barely keep from laughing throughout the segment, which is the best segment so far this season. The Calvins twins are a great example of characters growing out of a simple idea into an insane premise that only gets better the weirder it gets. If you’re a fan of the Calvins twins, I implore you to listen to their episode.
By the end of “Jenna Fischer Wears…,” not only have we seen that Who Has Done It? has its own board game (which gets us deep into the legal issues concerning 10-month long games), but we also get the solution to the question when Reggie solves the murder by explaining that it must’ve been the inspector himself. He turns out to be a dry cleaner using the blood stains he causes to boost his sales. Oh, and he’s also a cyborg, for some reason. And if that doesn’t make enough sense, we then find out that this whole story has been part of a 25 page-long mystery book Aukerman has been writing. Of course this is all coming from Aukerman’s head, where anything and everything can happen.
“Jenna Fischer Wears A Floral Blouse and Black Heels” is a great example of how the right guests and CBB’s open door policy for weird characters make the show a great experience. With episodes like this, you just gotta laugh!
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.