Thursday, March 16, 2023

What I’m Watching: History of the World, Part II (Series Finale)

History of the World, Part II: Season 1, Episode 8 “Part VIII” (B+)

I’m considering this the series finale even if I do hope that a second installment comes through, especially given the trailers we saw at the end which were similar to the same teaser at the close of the 1981 film so many decades ago. I think that “Jews in Space” was one of the strongest and funniest segments of the whole series, with Sarah Silverman not being able to fly when it might always be sundown and Ike Barinholtz putting the lox on the controls. Nick Kroll asking Wanda Sykes if she was allowed to be there was also another highlight, and we got a great send-up of the way Jews are portrayed in history with Jillian Bell’s marketing meeting for the Jesus movie, which saw them recast him as more “fair-skinned and relatable” and make it clearer that the Jews and not the Romans were the bad guys. Christianity really has been an effective target of this show. Barinholtz’s Teddy Roosevelt workout routine was sort of fun, and we got one more Shirley segment to bring it all home. I appreciated the opening bit with Lennon Parham trying to hit through the Berlin Wall and it ending up being just Kroll’s bathroom. Those short bits are really the best, and I’d love to see more of those in a theoretical season that should go into production right away while the energy is still hot and this series is hopefully attracting new fans who definitely weren’t even born (myself included) when part one was released.

Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Nick Kroll

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