- Austin Hamblin
I remember the first time I was shown Lil Dicky. I had just started a new job and several coworkers were talking about him. I had no idea who he was. This was met with: “You don’t know Lil Dicky?!?!?!?!?!?” They told me he was a rapper and I told them “ No offense I don’t really like rap.” My boss then forced me to watch the music video for “Lemme Freak”. It was some of the funniest shit I had ever seen. I came home and showed my live in girlfriend (now wife) she replied with “I figured you of all people would know who Lil Dicky is.” The reason she said this is because Lil Dicky is a nerdy looking, skinny, jewish rapper, who mainly raps about sex. Even though I don’t really enjoy rap music I really like Lil Dicky.
Years later I saw an ad playing on FXX for a show about a fictionalized version of Lil Dicky trying to make a career out of rapping. I figured I would give it a shot. Hell if the show was half as good as his music videos it’d be highly entertaining. I seriously couldn’t believe how great the first season was. It just wrapped up about two weeks ago and I really hope it gets a second season. At times the episodes are a bit sporadic, but I think this helps the series.
The first four episodes are full of absurd humor exactly like you would expect. Extremely funny and entertaining, but the fifth episode is completely different (Spoiler warning from this point on). In this episode we learn Dave’s hype man GaTa is living with bipolar disorder. It is presented in an almost perfect way. Throughout the episode GaTa is slowly getting more and more “hyped” and can’t seem to shut it off. We also get flashbacks to GaTa being a hype man for other rappers, as well as another more personal moment of him spiraling out of control. I really loved this episode because they presented the illness of it spanning over years and showing how it affected GaTa’s life. It also showed anyone can have mental illness even a tattooed, hype man, who is also full of swag. I just did some reading and GaTa is Dave’s real life hype man and used his own battles living with bipolar disorder as inspiration. GaTa if you're reading this thank you. You probably are going to help out a lot more people then you will ever realize myself included. The episode hits you like a punch in the face because up to this point it had been all about the laughs. I compare it to the episode of Futurama with Fry’s dog Seymour.
The supporting cast is what ties everything together. Even though the show is about Dave at many times he is presented unlikable. He acts childish, and can be “stuck in his ways” when he wants things. Besides GaTa another supporting character which sticks out to me is Ally (Dave’s girlfriend). She is a school teacher which adds a lot to the series. The contrast in each other's lives is what gives the relationship an interesting dynamic. They argue over Dave tweeting about getting head, because Ally’s parents might see it. Ally is unsure of herself while having to give a speech at her sister’s wedding meanwhile Dave is very confident. If they had Ally’s character work in the music industry or part of Dave’s crew it wouldn’t have worked. They needed to show Dave isn’t a conventional rapper, he is closer to a regular guy who just so happens to be an insanely talented rapper.
Flipping the script is what makes this show so good. It’s like watching a fish try to be a bird accept the fish is better at being a bird then most of the birds are. What do you think of when you hear the word rapper? Seriously take a second. It’s definitely not Dave/Lil Dicky. Even the members of his crew aren’t what you’d expect to find in the music industry. The closest is GaTa but GaTa having mental illness isn’t something the average person is going to associate with a rapper. Ally being a school teacher also goes with this. You don’t think of a rapper's significant other being a sweet school teacher. Mike is Dave’s roommate and manager. He kind of falls into the position wanting to do it as a “side gig”. After Dave finds success Mike quits his job. Mike knows Dave extremely well and I think him not having much experience in the roll presents opportunities for some interesting situations down the line. Elz Dave’s friend and DJ is another great example. Elz is a DJ which is something most people would associate with being smooth and a lady killer. Elz isn’t like that. Though very good at what he does he’s not confident. He is afraid to show his stuff to other rappers. He can kind of be a drag at times, but he really cares about Dave.
The season shows great character growth through all the characters and has a fantastic finale. Leaves off on several cliffhangers leaving me wanting answers! The best finales leave me angry because I want to know what is going to happen next and now I know I’ll have to wait to find out. Dave accomplished that. I’m hoping we get more of the series and I hope to be able to write something like Dave which makes people laugh and cry.