Here are some adjectives I would use to describe the sketch comedy of Good Cop Great Cop: bewildering, surreal, slightly demented, silly, unpredictable, dark, clever, stupid, frequently conceptual, and really quite brilliant.
Created by director/writer Matt Porter and painter/animator Charlie Hankin (though there is no actual animation in the series), Good Cop Great Cop is clearly the product of a pair of extremely talented, and possibly deranged, minds. Ranging in style from silly visual puns, to nearly impenetrable conceptual comedy; from dark, to endearing, to full-on dadaism. Making videos on-and-off since October 2011, Good Cop Great Cop has to be one of the most criminally under-appreciated comedy series’ on the web. With only 148 subscribers on YouTube notching up a relatively tiny 26,700 views, GCGC really is a hidden gem.
Let me tell you a little about being a reviewer for this kind of thing. Usually when I set out to do a write-up about a show I will try and look for the most accessible videos online – the first one to pop up on YouTube searches, the most viewed already and so on. Then, I’ll try and get a bit more depth by watching a few more at random, to try and get an overall view. Unless something is really quite special or very short, I won’t tend to watch everything they release. For Good Cop Great Cop, I watched all 56 videos. Every single one.
I couldn’t help myself. Even though the series is not perfect, it’s so utterly, bafflingly compelling that the less good episodes didn’t make me want to stop viewing. Often the sketches are purposefully difficult to watch, for example the creepy “Gary“, or the absurdly long “Gamma Sector” – but GCGC kept me hooked and kept me laughing, sometimes hysterically. Episodes like “Connecticut” where a romantic dinner turns a little mad, talent show spoof “Champion” and the fantastically clever and beautifully shot “Coming Soon” are some of the best sketches you are likely to find anywhere.
If this show has a weakness, and between the brilliant writing, fantastic filming and direction and nearly flawless acting, it’s hard to see how there could be one, but if it has a weakness, it’s that Good Cop Great Cop will probably never have mass appeal. The kind of dark, disturbing comedy it frequently brings will either be too confusing or too intense for most viewers online to bother with. Like Chris Morris’ dark masterpiece Jam, much of Good Cop Great Cop is frustrating and abrasive, but in a brilliant and hilarious way.
That being said a lot of GCGC is also, as I said, very silly, endearing and surprisingly simplistic (for example “Una Storia di Vino” or “Print“) – but in the vast majority of the sketches there is a feeling that something deeply sinister is going on just out of sight, and we the viewers are only catching a glimpse of it. This series will probably never appeal to everyone, but for those of us who find it, it is an instant classic.