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'Digman!' Is Quality Nonsense

By Alison Lanier | TV | April 17, 2023 |

By Alison Lanier | TV | April 17, 2023 |


After three episodes, I still couldn’t tell if I liked Digman! or not. Then I took a (legal) weed gummy, watched the fourth episode, and I decided I liked Digman! That’s it. That’s the review.

But seriously: Digman! is quality nonsense. A cheerfully blatant Indiana Jones parody, to the point that the jokes about whips and not liking snakes are necessary rather than an indulgence, Digman! follows titular character Rip Digman (Andy Samberg), a self-serious archeologist with old-timey vocabulary who’s fallen on hard times after being betrayed by his assistant Zane Troy (Guz Khan) and Zane’s try British humor. Also, by incidentally killing his beloved wife, Bella (Melissa Fumero). Or did he?!

In the world of the show, archeologists, or “arkies,” are popular celebrities with weekly tabloid ratings and an NDA-clad annual glam gala. Museums like the Met and the Smithsonian hire top-of-the-line arkies to go looting to stock their collections. And then, in true 2023 fashion, showy billionaire Quail Eegan (Tim Meadows) announces he’s starting up his own museum—of course, with nefarious trope-typical ulterior motives. By episode three, there’s a sentient Alexa-style AI named GAWD, played by Maya Rudolph. And we’re off to the races.

Rip is dragged back into the business by his new overly cheery and enthusiastic assistant, Saltine (Mitra Jouhari), one of his community college students who fall in love extremely easily and frequently. But thankfully not with Rip. To him, she’s more like a brilliant child who has to parent her parent as they learn to speak each other’s frustrating and pop-culture-laden languages.

All of this is made ten times better because Andy Samberg goes all-in on his Nic Cage impression for Rip’s character, which, frankly, is an unapologetic delight in its low-camp way. The jokes are obvious and overblown and delivered right on cue. This show has hints of Venture Brothers meets Mel Brooks, but if that sounds too lofty, don’t be fooled. It’s not overly intellectual. It’s not overly anything. It’s just good parody that doesn’t dig in with a poignant message. The primary impact the show is going for is emotional, piling on the tropes in ways that are so amazingly obvious I laughed just at their introduction.

Is there better TV I could be watching? Undoubtedly yes. But do I enjoy supporting animation is this animation-averse studio landscape? Also yes. And I also enjoy laughing at stupid shit and a fun story told well. Each 22-minute episode thus far pulls off tight, efficient storytelling that makes their arcs feel twice as long. Digman! is also objectively miles better than Velma, the latest comp in its category. But that’s not saying much. It feels a little insulting to make the comparison at all. Please do not associate those in your head.

I’m excited to see where the rest of the first season goes, how many copyright infringements it skirts, and how far it’s going to take its story. Unless it truly takes a dive, it’s a good time. It’s definitely not highbrow or high camp, and it’s definitely not for the kids.

The first season of Digman! is underway on fuboTV. Yeah, I don’t have fuboTV either. You can also watch on Amazon Prime.