Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ask Mr. Biggs - Review

(Hey! Sorry for the delay - it's been a hectic few months. The Asakura thing was just a joke I came up with. Back to business as usual - you can also see this post at my WWE Universe page.)

I am one for entertainment (as I'm sure all of you are, strangely enough), so sometimes I get bored (like right now, when I should be finishing a term paper...which can be finished later today). One of the days that I got bored, I decided to scan iTunes's podcast directory for anything worth listening to/watching. I came upon the Ask Mr. Biggs show, whose descrpition stated "Recycling radio show phone calls since 2006," which peaked my interest, as radio show parodies are usually hilarious (although there are sometimes cruddy).

The basic premise of the show is this - using recycled phone calls from other radio shows and emails from willing fans, creator and real-life Radiodork Clay Roe produces a fictional radio show (presumably in the LA area, based on the 661 area code of the show's call number), starring disc jockey Roger, and the titular character, Mr. Biggs.

Biggs is somewhat of a local celebrity, called a "tri-county fixture" and a "local businessman, entrepreneur, and man-about-town." He is the owner/operator of Whizzbang's, a restaurant/nightclub at "Phillips & Mountain, downtown" (in reality, the only cross-section in California with those streets is baren in the middle of Perris, CA, which isn't even in the 661 area code). Whizzbang's ("where the fun never ends, and the party's never-ending") is the main reason that Mr. Biggs has chosen to do the show, for advertisement purposes, though later episodes do not emphasize the restaurant's existence.

During the show, Mr. Biggs takes questions in the form of phone calls and emails, sent to ("biggscast at guh-mail dot com," as Mr. Biggs puts it). Meanwhile, Biggs participates in banter with the less boastful Roger, a friend of Bigggs and bachelor, presumably in his late 30's/early 40's, who lives with a cat in an appartment, and has several nervous ticks (some of which Biggs does not appreciate). The developed relationship between Biggs and Roger (their interactions, per se) serves as a big part of the show's comedic level, as Biggs frequently critizises Roger for his supposed eccentricities (frequently telling Roger to "talk like people"). Other regulars include Armando ("Mando" in later episodes), the show's young, humorous, frank call/email screener, and Chuck, the show's producer and general assistance man.

Biggs is the main source of entertainment, of course. He is an intelligent man, giving practical advice to questions he understants, but he is not as aware as other radio show hosts. In fact, sometimes he's rather daft. He has a bit of short-term memory, frequently shifts blame, and mistakes some of Roger's attempts at humorous banter as either slurs or non-conventional wordplay (pleading him to "talk like people"). Other times, he becomes angry (talking in his angry voice) and frequently tells more inept callers that what they say is stupid. Some of his advice is a little misplaced, or outdated, or simply bizzare. Therein lies the comedy; the audio from the calls is always spot-on with what the pair are saying or advising, and it adds a psuedo-authentic flavor to the fake radio show.

Whenever Whizzbang's is mentioned, there is always something going on, usually on Thursday nights. However, they are just as unconventional as Biggs himself, always based on (and finalized) based on Biggs's somewhat skewed logic. An example is when he decided that the restaurant would start serving Just-As-Good Bottled Tap Water, saying that the price is resonably lower than premium water at other bars, though it's just ice-cold bottled tap water at $2.50 a bottle. He even started looking for distributors. Other events are a little more conventional, like Red-Light, Green-Light Thursday Night, where shots were served during a round of the titular game. Some of the show's drama (see also: mishaps) occur because of an incident or happening at the restaurant, like the invasion of faux-mustache-wearing hooligans or the instertion of a drainage pipe for an All-you-can-dring Build-Your-Own-Cocktail bar.

The audio is top-notch, as well. The show begins with a generic tune which is the show's theme. The ending theme is also haunting, with the generic "Happy Ending" call at the end adding a semi-creepy feel that sets up for the Moment of Zen-like clip at the end. During the show, there are audio transitions with excellent music and old-school audio clips (from instructional audio files and commercials) relevant to the previous topic (or sometime random). Excellent structure and great pacing leave the listener wanting more.

Thanks to all of the above reasons, the show is amazing. Fans of radio shows and non-fans alike will be left laughing by a typical episode. Beware, though - some episodes contain less-than-friendly language (though this is rare), so kids shouldn't listen without parental supervision.

King Cena gives this show 5 excellent Thursday nights...out of 5.