Jon Glaser hits on a terrific idea in Delocated, an idea he then proceeds to inject with a doze of absurdity that may alienate some viewers unused to the Adult Swim late night programming block. The concept - a family in the witness protection program getting their own reality show - would be engaging if played straight, but Delocated has decidedly deadpan aspirations, parody of reality television aside. This two-season set, while light on extras (though, in the spirit of the show, there is plenty of on-set goofing around included) should have an easy time converting fans while avid watchers will be able to snatch up the solid collection.
Jon Glaser stars as "Jon," confined to a ski mask and speaking with the aid of a pitch shifter, and the star of his own reality show. Based in New York, Jon is protected by a host of black-suited earpiece-fitted agents while bumbling Yvgeny Mirminsky (Eugene Mirman) attempts to avenge his Russian Mafia father, languishing in jail thanks to Jon. Mirminsky also happens to be a stand-up comedian, and within two episodes, he has a camera crew following him around when a producer inexplicably decides that Mirminsky's sex appeal is off the charts. Jon must now contend with both the trappings of the Witness Protection Program, his own failings as a human being and an assassin on his trail.
The best moments of Delocated involve a freefall into inspired silliness - one of my favorites is an episode devoted to Jon encountering racism at a golf club, which inevitably cause our lead to become an "honorary black man." You can see the concept picking up steam at the beginning of many episodes, and just when it seems like they won't dive deep into a silly scenario, the show does a cannon ball off the deep end. Occasionally Delocated flounders and some of the jokes drag on almost in hopes of hitting that sweet spot again but by and large.
Watching his interactions Kevin Dorff's Mike the Federal Agent in particular is absolutely some of the best material the show has put out. Dorff is a treasure, mixing vulnerability with high professionalism and getting to shine in an episode that tracks a short-lived friendship between Mike and Jon.
Still, Jon's flaws are offset by propensity for childlike ambition and idealism. Rarely aware that he may be embarrassing himself, Jon can switch from macho posturing to helpless on-camera exposure on a dime and when combined with the frequent lampooning of reality TV show troupes, it's a cheesy opera of overblown feeling. One inspired moment sees Jon watching a TV-movie of his life as he begins to cry. When asked why, he replies, in between sobs, "My life is being portrayed on TV in an unflattering light." Moments like could serve as a larger mirror into our celebrity-obsessed culture, but if Glaser has any proselytizing on his mind, he'd much sooner have a good time and if there's a lesson in there somewhere, so be it.
The transfer doesn't do much to improve the humble origins of this show, but it also is not a total loss. Shot largely via HD camcorder, Delocated may not offer much in a range of colors, but the purposes of the show, it's a solid transfer and any pristine remastering would have been going against the fly on the wall, in the moment nature of the show.
A 5.1 surround sound track that's included is welcome, but unnecessary. Still, for those who are planning to show off Delocated, it's a fine mix, considering that 99% of the show is dialogue, much of it via pitch modifier, the track never falters.
Two Glaser commentaries are included on the first disk, if you can find them - they're not selectable via menu, so head on over and select either "Pilot" or "Movie" to be given the option. Disc two features ten minutes of Deleted Scenes and about 25 minutes of Outtakes, as well as two flip books, and a four minute Demo of the show in its earlier stages. While fans probably wouldn't want Glaser to appear unmasked and serious, explaining away how his work methods, I would have loved to get a look inside the showrunner's mind. Otherwise, the extras are akin to the show, which does mean they can feel insubstantial and drag on.
Delocated is an acquired taste of lunacy that may not be for everyone, but you'll know right away whether it tickles your fancy. If it does, this set will continue to do so shamelessly in plain sight of everybody. Recommended
The best of the five boroughs is now represented. Brooklyn in the house! I'm a hardworking film writer, blogger, boyfriend and hopeful Corgi owner. Find me on Twitter @markzhur and on Tumblr at Our Elaborate Plans...