The gay comedy duo of Jeffery Self and Cole Escola returned to Logo TV for a second season of their comedy sketch show Jeffery & Cole Casserole. The first season of Jeffery & Cole Casserole was a clever and witty addition to summer TV in 2009, so a second season in 2010 was favorably anticipated. Unfortunately, the second season appears to be only a caricature of the first. The unlikely and well-received quality drawn from a show about two guys doing amateur videos now looks like just two guys doing an amateur video.
There is a rumor that Logo paid Self and Escola a very small sum of money for an entire season worth of product. Perhaps for the second season, the pair decided to give the company what it paid for, and intentionally decided to deliver a load of crap. It doesn’t help the viewer if that were true, but at least it would make the two of them not look like they have run out creativity.
In the first season they made an attempt to create something of quality and they succeeded. The second season is woefully missing that quality. The absurdity they used in season one was like Lewis Carroll; in season two it was like Dumb and Dumber. It changed from an avant-garde art project to something made by a teenage straight boy in his cul-de-sac in suburban Des Moines.
Several things have changed. One of the cute things about the first season was that Jeffery & Cole played almost all the roles in their sketches. When they did occasionally have additional cast, the actors played gray, background characters that practically blended into the scenery and didn’t alter the sense of J&C living in their own private universe. The actors were friends of J&C who helped fill in where needed. Now it looks like all their friends are being inserted prominently into the show as favors to give them face time. It ruins the sense of the show being exclusively about J&C.
Another thing that alters the nature of the show from being how two young guys could take a cheap webcam and a very limited space and set of props and make something wonderful, is now they have a professional camera and they record further afield. It doesn’t feel anymore like two kids making comedy to amuse themselves in their apartment on a rainy day.
They reused some bits from their first season but they not only didn’t improve them, they did them worse. Their “marry, f’ck or kill” game in the first season was done as serious but with a weird hilarious twist in it. This go-around was just amateurish as they giggled their way through it. They aren’t even trying anymore to be clever.
An essential element of absurdist comedy is presenting situations as if they were normal and serious but have some bizarre aspect inserted into them. The absurdity is treated as a normal event, thus producing the comedy. In season two, Jeffery & Cole keep laughing at their own material, ruining the effect of the surrealism.
The show is not a complete crapfest. There are still some funny moments in it, largely from Cole Escola’s wonderful comedic performances. However, the show needs to get back to its successful elements from its first season if it wants to recapture the achievements and glory of season one.
(Sometimes misspelled as Jeffrey & Cole Casserole.)