A new show created and written by Fred Savage called What Just Happened with Fred Savage debuted last night, and if you’d never heard anything about the series before going in, you might have been confused.
I am confusion… what the hell is this show? #WhatJustHappened— Becca (@gonegustavgone) July 1, 2019
For the love of god, WTF is this #WhatJustHappened nightmare?— Mercy MONTANA, Cheif Covfefe (@_Mercy_Montana) July 1, 2019
#WhatJustHappened more like what the fuck am I watching— Rusty Shackleford (@thisguyTTU) July 1, 2019
I can’t decide if I’m watching a talk show or a parody of SNL.— Melanie Buford (@MelanieBuford) July 1, 2019
I. Am. confused. #WhatJustHappened
So the series, hosted by Fred Savage, is a real aftershow for a fictional television show called The Flare based on a series of books by author T.J. Whitford, who is not a real person. Savage plays himself, as the host, along with co-host, Taylor Tomlinson, also playing herself. Kevin Zegers, the star of the fictional The Flare, appears as his first guest, and Rob Lowe — a real person — also appears as a superfan of The Flare, which again is a show that does not exist.
The reaction to the series on Twitter I will say is … mixed? And by that, I mean, viewers either loved it more than anything they’ve ever seen in their lives, or they immediately turned it off.
Just watched the series premiere of #WhatJustHappened. This show is brilliant and is only for a couple thousand people to appreciate at best. I'm one of those people and look forward to keep watching this show.— Adam Wells (@TheAdamWells) July 1, 2019
I only got past about 5 mins of the show turned it off… #WhatJustHappened— Tara Broadway (@TaraBroadway) July 1, 2019
I expect any non-animated show Fox debuts on Sunday night to be bad but #WhatJustHappened was one of the worst things I've seen on television. Fred Savage deserves better.— Will Reynolds (@willinois) July 1, 2019
I'm now going to turn off the TV, watch no other shows in 2019, spend the rest of the year thinking about #WhatJustHappened, and then rank it #1 on my year end list.— Brendan Noel (@BrendanDNoel) July 1, 2019
The new show #WhatJustHappened is going to be a cult favorite. It's one of those things that gets funnier after you see it. I didn't understand it, but now that it's over, I'm laughing my ass off.— Aaron (@_AyAyRon) July 1, 2019
In fact, I may be the only person who falls somewhere in the middle. I like the idea of the show, but at least in its opening episode, I don’t think it truly maximized its potential or worked as effectively as I might have liked as a cutting parody of Chris Hardwick (upon whose after shows What Just Happened is clearly modeled). Yes: Fred Savage is unreasonably excited about a television series unworthy of that level of excitement (the show opens with a real clip of the last minute of the fake show, and it is bad), and he’s definitely somewhat insecure and likes to make everything about himself (characteristics synonymous with Chris Hardwick).
But it also veers a little too far into the wacky but not particularly funny, such as an extended segment in which Savage tries to break onto the property of The Flare star Helen Mirren to interview her, only to realize that he’s not actually at Helen Mirren’s house. The show also goes a little too far even for a Hardwickian-like aftershow when Fred Savage interviews Rob Lowe while mimicking the conditions of The Flare, which is to say during a “monsoon” in a blow-up boat while assistants are throwing cups of water on them.
It’s very dumb, but it’s also kind of smart, but it’s not yet smart enough to make up for how dumb it is, if that makes any sense. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK. We’re talking about a real aftershow for a show that doesn’t exist featuring real actors playing fictional versions of themselves but who are also promoting very real shows in which the real versions of the fictional real actors are starring in. It’s a lot, but I’m going to give it a couple of more episodes, because What Just Happened is definitely a trainwreck, but I can’t tell yet if it is an amazing trainwreck or a disastrous one.
Header Image Source: Fox