Peacock’s Hapless Will Remove the Stress of Your Day, Week, Month, and Year!

Spoilers

The ultimate cringe comedy has ended as Curb Your Enthusiasm took its final bow.

After 15 seasons of watching Larry David’s fictional self make a complete and utter ass of himself again and again, it might seem like the end is near for the medium.

Rest assured, this brand of humor will not disappear quickly, and streaming on Peacock today is Hapless, a British comedy from creator David Sinyor about — to harken back to (Larry) David’s Seinfeld — nothing.

First of all, you should probably know that I am not generally a sitcom gal. My comedy needs to be brusque and sarcastic, borderline rude, but not raunchy.

As you can imagine, cringe comedies make my heart sing.

These comedies often feature somewhat neurotic people who have failed to fully mature as they live life. As a single adult without children, this speaks to me. How do you mature without kids? I’ve yet to figure that out.

These hapless characters move through life much like you and me, saying and doing all of the things we might do or say but have the good taste (and fear of repercussions, if we’re being honest) not to say in polite company or otherwise.

It doesn’t mean that similar thoughts don’t pervade our psyches; it’s more that we laugh inwardly and by ourselves.

Thankfully, we’ve got cringe comedy to alleviate our pain, taking aim at things most won’t touch. Hapless is one such show, poking the bear again and again, getting gleeful reactions from viewers (this one, at least).

Hapless, which was originally titled The Jewish Enquirer when its first season aired on Prime Video in 2020, follows Paul Green (Outlander’s Tim Downie), a journalist for The Jewish Enquirer.

His editor tasks him with lackluster assignments, which he accepts with the same verve. These assignments have him cavorting with the public regularly, and if we were in his same position, we’d probably be fired for similar behavior.

Oh, how we wish we could let loose all of the things inside of our heads. Thankfully, Paul, his best friend, Simon (Josh Howie), and his sister Naomi (Lucy Montgomery in Season 1 and Jeany Spark in Season 2) do the legwork for us, and we get to revel in their shenanigans.

Paul and Simon share everything, but they draw the line at dating, which is tough when they’re wading in the same pool for the ladies.

In one Season 1 episode, they both make plays for a woman at the grocery store, seeing who can outbid the other for a night out.

Simon (who is incredibly unkempt and, to this viewer, seems like a step down the dating ladder from his friend Paul) almost always gets there first, and the list of names in his little black book is astonishing, and their antics to find ladies are hilarious.

That includes Simon getting down on all fours to show Paul how he shaves his private bits in a mirror. Sorry, ladies, but he’s dressed at the time.

Paul and Naomi are incredibly close, and changing actresses in the second season has allowed Naomi to flourish. She was borderline normal (by Hapless standards) during the first season, but she’s on par with and often advancing on her brother’s cringiness in the second.

While both seasons drop on Peacock today, there is an additional push for those who watched Season 1 to step over to Peacock to watch the continuation.

Is it worth the effort or your $10 bucks? You bet it is.

Sinyor succeeds wildly in his efforts to bring absurdity to the mundanity of everyday life. Paul’s interviews are always something to behold, but it’s the unwitting interlopers who get his very best.

Paul’s blind date with a blind woman results in Paul’s statement to Naomi: “I can’t have a serious relationship with someone who’s blind.” It’s absolutely the wrong thing to say, but the fact is that it’s a discussion worth having.

The best thing about cringe comedies is how the cringe usually results from something unsaid in your own mind that comes to light, forcing you to rethink your position.

It’s all well and good to think awful things in your head, but what happens when they’re blurted out to the world?

While out to lunch, Naomi visits the loo to find an incredibly long line. Not interested in waiting or her food getting cold, she pops into the gents and is accosted by her waitress with a lesson: the men’s room is for men, and the women’s room is for women.

So, Naomi rolls with it. “I am a man, “ she says, much to the horror of the waitress, who immediately stumbles over herself to make amends.

Tacking things that we all encounter frequently is key to this type of comedy, and being willing to touch dark, humbling, and embarrassing thoughts and experiences is a requirement.

And yes, this is a show about a Jewish man, and Sinyor isn’t afraid to tackle those hard topics, either, such as Palestinians in Gaza.

It’s done innocently enough when a fellow knocks on Paul’s door asking for charitable donations, and Paul pulls the guy along to places he never imagined he’d be going that day in his attempts to shed light on their differences and their commonalities.

Sinyor seems relatively fearless, which certainly follows in Curb’s footsteps.

But the show also recalls other comedies, both cringe and not, and some also Jewish.

Jill Kargman’s Odd Mom Out had much of the same flavor and Jewishness as Hapless, as did Catherine Reitman’s Workin’ Moms.

Hapless is also reminiscent of Ricky Gervais’s After Life thanks to the similar journalistic techniques Paul uses with his subjects and Catastrophe for the hilarious slice-of-life experiences that ring so familiar to us all.

Look, I’m not great at talking about comedies. I want you to see the best without having any idea what’s coming. But don’t hold back on watching Hapless on my account.

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up to temper your own crazy day, you’d be wise and rewarded for dropping onto the couch and watching Hapless.

It’s streaming today on Peacock.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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