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Arts and Entertainment

L.A. Comedy Duo Garfunkel and Oates Bring Their Saucy, Smutty Style To IFC

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After watching last night's premiere of the new sketch comedy series Garfunkel and Oates, it's safe to say that HBO's loss is IFC's gain. The L.A.-based comedy-folk duo Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates) originally did a pilot for HBO in 2011 that wasn't given a full series go-ahead. The cable giant instead released the episode in online digital shorts for subscribers.

But now, IFC has added Garfunkel and Oates—its first female-driven comedy—to a roster of quirky sketch shows that includes The Birthday Boys, Portlandia and Spoils of Babylon. All eight, half-hour episodes of the Garfunkel and Oates season were directed by veteran actor and director Fred Savage (The Wonder Years).

The show's premise is simple, following the women as they navigate Hollywood's comedy and acting circuits, while often making a number of love (mis)connections. It's not much of a stretch since Garfunkel and Oates have been an L.A. comedy staple for several years. Interspersed between the bits of dialogue are their famed musical interludes, which are usually sweet and saucy (sometimes extra saucy) at the same time.

With last night's premiere episode, "The Fadeaway," audiences not familiar with musical comedy stylings of Garfunkel and Oates—whose names are borrowed from rock's “most famous second bananas”—are quickly brought up to speed. As the episode opens, the guy Lindhome's been dating takes offense to having his balls described in one of their songs as "gray, hang-y ghost scrotum." Lindhome tells him that they've only been on two dates, and she hasn't seen his balls. "It reminds me of the time a guy I dated thought we had written a song about how he sounded like a bike pump in bed," Micucci says. A beat. Then Lindhome responds: "We did." Another beat. Micucci pipes up: "Oh yeah, 'The Bike Pump' song."

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Welcome to the world of Garfunkel and Oates. Even before the credits roll, we see that these women aren’t afraid to get down and dirty like the boys—a refreshing diversion from some of the dude-driven comedy dominating the airwaves.

One of the best storylines of the night features Micucci's audition with Ben Kingsley. The duo's agent Boomer (whom she envisions as a puppet, voiced by Rob Huebel) sends her a part for a "hot slut," so she has to ditch her jeans and ski jacket for something a little more revealing. The audition is uncomfortably awkward, as Micucci adds little touches, like a slight curtsy when meeting Sir Ben, to make the scene even more laughable.

The episode's best moments, though, come from unexpected surprises. In addition to their puppet agent (who makes a note—“‘’Cuch is the brown one”—to help him tell the women apart), there's also an ‘80s-style video for “The Fadeaway” song to end the episode. And a random peek at their acting reels reveals Micucci in a number of cheesy commercials (the “Original Boob-Plus” for flat-chested girls) or as a decoy underage boy in To Catch a Pervert. Not to be outdone, the leggy Lindhome’s acting reel is chock full of topless moments.

There are a few of scenes with comedian Anthony Jeselnik and Lindhome in an ice cream shop and Micucci in a toy store, that could have been cut down to keep pace with other sketches. But regardless, the laughs outnumber the missteps in this first episode. While we know that women can be as crudely funny as dudes any day—and we hope that in future episodes Micucci and Lindhome get even down and dirtier—“The Fadeaway” shows that in the the hands of Garfunkel and Oates and their harmonies, they can make the vulgarities sound oh, so sweet. (As a great example, check out "The Loophole" video below:)

Garfunkel and Oates airs on Thursdays at 10 pm on IFC.