In case you haven’t heard, MTV premiered yet another scripted half hour sitcom — though that’s using the term “sitcom” loosely. It’s called I Just Want My Pants Back and it’s about 20-somethings living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with entry level jobs and hipster tendencies. How very original.
The entire show is based around one main plot: Jason, the main character, goes to a bar and ends up having sex with this girl in his refrigerator. In the morning she borrows his pants (“I don’t like it when my doorman sees me in the same clothes at the night before,” she says) and leaves her phone number. In a totally predictable turn of events, the phone number is fake. Well, it ends up being the number of a Thai take-out restaurant and so, heartbroken, Jason embarks on his quest to get his pants back.
The show is only a little bit funny. The half hour seems to drag on for twice that and only a handful of the one-line quips are even marginally amusing. Like when Jason tells fridge girl he hopes she’s not a transsexual and won’t steal his credit card, she responds, “I’m all girl and no one takes Discover.” The rest fall flat and border on kind-of-awkward. Like when Jason is talking on the phone and says, “No, I don’t pick up the phone when I masturbate unless I’m at work.”
There have only been a few episodes, but so far the show doesn’t quite capture the neighborhood it’s set in.
Full disclosure: I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (which is just north of Williamsburg – Hipsterville, for those not familiar with NYC neighborhoods) and they filmed the show on my street and in various locations within spitting distance of my apartment.
They got the neighborhood all wrong. Greenpoint is Williamsburg’s cheaper younger brother. The hipsters haven’t totally taken over yet and the rent is still at a normal level, for NYC anyway. Before young professionals like myself moved in, Greenpoint was a blue collar neighborhood of Polish immigrants who worked in ship yards and the water treatment facility. And while dive bars and vegan bratwurst on pretzel buns have popped up and attracted a few of the hipster kind, Greenpoint still has more pierogi and Polish charm than ironically placed beanie hats and bros.
In MTV’s Greenpoint, 20-somethings ride around on bicycles having random sex, de-virginizing interns, getting high, and taking shots that taste like “intercourse and tears.” Though I suppose not all is lost, there are some accuracies. Greenpoint is a close-knit neighborhood so Jason’s close relationship with his Bodega owner is believable. People here (for reasons beyond my comprehension) do reference James Van Der Beek as much as he’s mentioned in the show. Also aside from the Polish families who have been here forever, just like in the show, most of the residents are Millennials with their first “adult jobs” who are trying to straddle the line between college debauchery and being a contributing member of society.
I Just Want My Pants Back is essentially Portlandia for those who watch porn and aren’t as conscientious about recycling. It’s all the raunch of Jersey Shore with the quippy, sarcastic pop culture references of The Soup. I’ll probably never watch another episode – mostly because if I wanted the story line of emotional baggage and self-loathing, I could walk the two blocks to Williamsburg on any given night and get my fill.
But the show isn’t as terrible as it could be. It’s your run-of-the-mill TV show which requires a minimal amount of brain cells. It’s like Dawson’s Creek if Dawson had balls and Joey was a slut (see, I told you people in this ‘hood reference James Van Der Beek!).
I Just Want My Pants Back is funny in a marginally tragic, this-is-how-life-really-is-sometimes way and it does hit the nail on the head, portraying the Gen Y struggle with being an adult, yet still being under 25. It’s not going to win any critical acclaim, but if you’re sick of 2 Broke Girls and the jokes in Portlandia go over your head, it’s the show for you.