After three successful seasons, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ stands tall as one of the best comedies on television. The FX show based on a rather dumb premise has turned out brilliant scripts one after the other, making it one of the best shows to return to in television.
In season 1, Laszlo, the immortal vampire, is trapped by Animal Control when he fails to turn back into his human form. The bat ends up being caged, and hilarious jokes ensue. The story of four immortal vampires has become of the most famous stories on television today. And it’s no surprise, ‘What We Do in Shadows’ is funny and stupid every step of the way.
- What makes ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ great?
- Funny and Stupid
When Waititi and Clement had been playing with the idea of vampires for a long time, talking about it with “Hollywood Reporter” Clement said, “Taika wanted to make a mockumentary, and I wanted to do something. About vampires, and we just put it together”.
The mockumentary format still follows the show. The cinematography is deliberately restless and often turns into a documentary format. The pair also debuted their show, ‘Wellington Paranormal’, a parody of ‘X-Files’ around the same time.
The FX show has defied all expectations, becoming the crowning achievement in the writers’ careers. The story follows four immortal vampires, but only three of them are traditional vampires.
The fourth member of the group is Colin Robinson, an energy vampire. Modelled after office colleagues who drain all the energy from the conversation, Colin’s character is a running gag. During the making of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Season 3, all the immortal vampires and the energy vampire came together to improvise jokes and put together a hilarious show.
It works because of the sharp contrast in the characters. Nandor is a classic vampire out of a horror movie, but he is also the oldest, and he does not understand the world at all. Laszlo, in contrast, is always looking for sex. Borrowing from the pulp fiction vampires, the character has to scream “Bat” to turn into his bat form.
The last in the group is Nadja, the female vampire who carries a chip on her shoulder. One of the angriest characters on the show, she once labelled their castle with pockmarks searching for a necklace.
However, ‘What We do in Shadows’ is funny and stupid because of Guillermo. The familiar of the immortal Nandor. In season 1, he was introduced as a groupie for the vampire clan, as someone who wants to become a vampire badly. He follows around Nandor and does everything for him. However, in season2, Guillermo is revealed to be from a lineage of vampire slayers, from Van Helsing himself.
Season 3 sees this come to fruition as the character ends up killing all the vampires in a movie theatre. The resulting damage makes the immortals imprison him, and Colin goes on a one-person mission to study his poop.
Setting it apart
This is what makes ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ excellent. It is funny and stupid in just the right amounts. It takes risks with the storytelling, going into territory that people won’t have thought of. Fans of the show will remember the group of vampires going into a Super Bowl thinking that it was an owl presentation called Superb Owl.
Laszlo ends up escaping to a remote location in the middle, where he plays a bartender without any knowledge of how the profession works. The show is a gold mine of improvisation and one-liners. What seals is brilliant writing that plays up the insanity of its characters and makes sure that the audience knows their story very well.
The actors and actresses put everything into the making of the show. They come up with stories, make up character narratives, and drive the performance forward. Often, the most significant decision is not what to put into the show but what would be cut so that they can fit into the 23-minute runtime.
‘What we do in the Shadows’ does something very different. It makes the show funny, stupid, dumb, and intelligent all at the same time. Effortlessly shifting between what seems like oxymorons might not be easy, but with creative geniuses like Clements and Waititi in the writer’s chair, the show has gone from strength to strength in season 3.