Fall 2014 Review: Play It Again Dick

1 Dec

Play It Again Dick

I’ll expound further on this below, but for those with short attention spans, let me save you some time. If you love Veronica Mars, watch the short attention span-friendly webisode series Play It Again, Dick. It’ll take between and hour and an hour and a half of your day and you’ll be glad you did.

Now here’s some more info for those who haven’t gone over to the CW’s website and started watching yet (yes, that’s the best way to watch, and it’s surprisingly decent enough to use).

Play It Again, Dick is a web series created by Veornica Mars scribe Rob Thomas. In it, Ryan Hansen (Dick from Veronica Mars), playing an exaggerating version of himself, makes an ultra-cheap pilot for a Veronica Mars spinoff starring Dick, in which Dick is a detective solving crimes, which should seem as ridiculous as it is to any Veronica Mars fan well-familiar with Dick’s character. He, following up on the suggestion of a CW executive, attempts to gather together many of his old VM cohorts together to shoot scenes for the pilot. The whole serious is shown as if it were the making-of documentary Ryan is shooting for his pilot; we see the cameramen in several of the episodes.

Everyone plays exaggerated versions of themselves (except for Kristen Bell, who seems surprisngly normal in the context of the show, but as the first guest star to show up she helps ween us into this world). Ryan Hansen is an only slightly toned-down version of Dick, who believes he’s far more competent than he is and that everyone loves the character Dick as much as he does. His unbridled enthusiasm is so infectious that it makes you want his pilot to succeed no matter what an incredibly stupid idea it is. Many other characters get a couple of scenes to shine – Enrico Colantoni (Keith) is willing to help if Ryan puts a strange box with undisclosed contents under Tom Hanks’ bed, Pergy Daggs III (Wallace) is a serious gangster type doing his best Marsellus Wallace impression, and Francis Capra (Weevil) is a capital A actor who feels like his Shakespearean talents were underserved by Thomas in Veronica Mars.

It’s well-executed, with a lot of the charm of Veronica Mars, except skewed far more towards the funny, without any of the drama and action. The actors are all game, willing to mock themselves and each other, and it’s laugh out loud funny, more so towards the later episodes, as you see scenes from the pilot itself, which may be the most hilarious scenes in the show.  I laughed, I smiled, and I was just happy to see all of my favorite actors back on screen together having fun. Something like this could easily have been very awkward and hard to watch, British-comedy style – Ryan is such an idiot, and several of the others are over the top caricatures with utter social obliviousness, but because it’s so ridiculous, it never goes on too long, and we know that everyone is in on it and having a good time and enjoys being part of the Mars universe, it’s never difficult.

Rob Thomas has a Joss Whedon-level pass guaranteeing I will give anything he is prominently involved in more of a chance than I would any old show as the man behind Party Down and Veronica Mars, two of my favorite shows of all time. He doesn’t let down here. This is for the hard core Veronica Mars fans, the Marshmellows, and  I think anyone who loves the show will at the least enjoy Play It Again, Dick.

Will I watch it again? Yes. It’s about an hour and a half total. I’ve already watched all of it. It’s short. It’s funny. It gets you reunited with all of your friends from Veronica Mars. What’s not to like? The answer is nothing. There is nothing not to like.

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