MacGruber, a series based on the SNL skit and 2010 movie, all starring Will Forte as a fearless, and clueless, soldier of fortune, premieres on Peacock December 16. Featuring no shortage of poop jokes, penis gags and cheesy wordplay, MacGruber, initially a spoof on MacGyver, targets what looks like a pretty slim section of the viewing population: 14-year-old boys, and men with fond memories of being 14-year-old boys.
The no-brow series begins with a ceaselessly profane, and very funny, Maya Rudolph song summing up the mythology of MacGruber. Rudolph sings in a wedding gown. “His prowess on the battlefield was only equaled in the sack,” she belts. “He knew how to hump, and baby I should know–I was his wife so I humped him back.”
As the pilot unfurls, the president’s daughter is kidnapped, and only one man can save her. MacGruber is in prison for killing bad guy Dieter Von Cunth, and is offered his freedom if he’ll take on the risky mission of freeing the president’s daughter (and the First Dog, for that matter).
MacGruber takes the deal, and faces off with bad guy Queeth, played by Billy Zane. (The heels all seem to have funny names ending in ‘th’.)
Kristen Wiig is MacGruber’s ex-wife Vicki, who still adores him, and Ryan Phillippe is Dixon Piper, MacGruber’s old partner on the battlefield. Laurence Fishburne plays General Fasoose, who picks MacGruber for the president’s daughter mission, and is now in a relationship with Vicki, which MacGruber is not pleased about.
Forte is naked for nearly all of the second episode, providing plenty of penis and butt material for the writers’ room. He battles with Queeth, who holds a deadly chemical called brimstone, and former ally Constantine, who cannot see.
Is MacGruber funny? For this viewer, it felt like a sketch gone very long. The funniest part was the Maya Rudolph intro.
Forte and company are in on the joke–punchlines so lame that their lameness might be good for a chuckle. Some will indeed chuckle, while others just feel the lameness.
Forte is an executive producer along with John Solomon, Jorma Taccone, Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn, Andrew Singer and Erin David. There are eight episodes on Peacock. ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.