A combination of small town humor and slapstick comedy gives viewers a chance to laugh out loud at something remarkably different from anything else on television currently. TBS’ latest anthology comedy The Guest Book is a short breath of fresh air. The show might be a little ambitious at times, with the setting of the show pretty much controlling what happens in it, but the overall effect sometimes works with each episode.
It all happens in a quiet rental cottage called Foggy Creek and the surrounding mountainous small town. The show’s regulars include the cottage’s owner and various other small town folk that have his or her own quirks and quarries. The bulk of the fun, however, lies with the renters that come to stay at the cottage, each one with his or her own set of problems to deal with. These are all reflected upon Foggy Creek’s guest book, which gives the viewers a look into everyone’s thoughts and desires, and that turns out to be really funny for the most part.
The problem with the show, though, is that because it’s so fast paced, it’s kind of difficult to keep up with. The rotation of the characters alone can be overwhelming at times, let alone all the plots that creator Greg Garcia is trying to squeeze in. All the townsfolk have their own story arc. Add an indeterminate number of cottage guests to that and you’ll have quite a few stories to deal with in every episode. The show compensates for this with truly fascinating and sometimes disjointed character dynamics, which has been working so far, but the season is barely finished. It’ll be interesting to see how long the writers can keep up the creativity to just keep The Guest Book going.
A couple of episodes have definitely hit the mark. Episode 5, for instance, takes a stab at finding something comedic when it comes to dealing with a mental condition. It’s unusual and it worked. The result was shocking but hilarious at the same time. There’s even power to the fact that the show makes use of its guest stars to really nail some of the renters’ characters. Don’t get too attached, though, because this week’s guests will not be around for next week’s activities.
So far, the show is giving us some good laughs, and once the season finale comes around, we can finally decide how tired we are of all the check ins and check outs we had to deal with all season. It might take some time for The Guest Book to find something solid to hold on to that can be carried from episode to episode. But for now, each one stands on its own in some way, and it isn’t necessarily a good thing. The Guest Book is great if you’re looking to have a good laugh, but you might not be satisfied with it if you’re looking for something to watch and follow on a regular basis. The Guest Book is a fascinating and funny venture into the inner workings of people’s lives, but unless we get a break from the constant movement, we might get tired of the Foggy Creek ourselves.