God’s Favorite Idiot (Netflix)-The premise of a modern-day prophet dealing with the absurdities of a religiously mixed-up world has already been done quite a bit before, most notably with Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s best-selling book “Good Omens” and its subsequent 2019 Amazon TV series. Ironically, that show came out in the same year as the phenomenally funny God-as-aimless-idiot series “Miracle Workers” which was created by “Man Seeking Women” showrunner Simon Rich. There’s also the 1999 film “Dogma”, “The Life of Brian”, College Humor’s series about God’s Boss, Craig. This is all on the heels of the immensely thorough “The Good Place.”
Considering how brilliant all of those things are, the bar is pretty high, and I don’t think God’s Favorite Idiot meets it.
Clark (Ben Falcone) is a typical office drone with a sad sack aura about him (think George Michael from Arrested Development if Rebel Alley hadn’t come along) and a crush on his co-worker Amily (Falcone’s real-life wife and creative partner Melissa McCarthy). They work in a small office with a lot of bickering (of the funny-ha-ha variety) and a boss (oddly named Frisbee, IMDB don’t lie) who’s basically asking to be the butt of the joke.
In the opening scene, Clark gets struck by lightning and starts exhibiting strange powers. We then segue to eccentric co-worker Amily telling her co-workers about her discovery that Clark seemed to be glowing, while also confessing that her recent cocaine consumption makes her an unreliable narrator. Melissa McCarthy is one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood (to the extent that stardom still exists), she’s certainly capable of driving a scene, and she’s getting good scene partners here.
But it becomes increasingly distracting that Clark isn’t really at the center of the pilot. He not only lacks running time, but the story isn’t even told from his point of view. The majority of the episode’s running time is a mix of indirect office speculation over what to make of Clark, and Clark’s awkward courtship with Amily.
There are also a number of scenes from an exterior view of the office’s two toilet stalls, where Clark has to repeatedly remind his coworkers that he doesn’t really like to talk while on the toilet. This is where Clark shines comedically: He’s an awkward being who verbalizes his awkwardness in a unique take on classic deadpan characters…