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If You Like These 8 Sitcoms, You Will Love 'Difficult People'

August 8, 2015 in Blogs

By Anna Silman, Salon

Amy Poehler's new Hulu comedy stars Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner.

“Difficult People,” the new Hulu comedy from Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite productions, stars Billy Eichner (“Billy on The Street,” “Parks & Rec”) and longtime comedy scribe Julie Klausner (“Best Week Ever,” “Mulaney”) as pricklier, less-successful versions of themselves: Two curmudgeonly pop culture-obsessed BFFs trying to make it in the acting and comedy world.


While the show certainly shares some similarities with Poehler’s last hit “Broad City” (a strong central friendship, New York-specific gags, etc.), Billy and Julie’s adventures have a much more pointed scope than the absurd romps offered by Abbi and Ilana. With its rapid-fire celebrity references and sharp meta-commentary on the entertainment industry, “Difficult People” seems designed to appeal to a certain subset of smart-ass New Yorkers living in working in media or entertainment and prone to frequently refreshing their Twitter mentions (which is probably why yours truly enjoyed the show so much).

With that said, anyone who enjoys clever comedy will find plenty to like about the show, which takes inspiration from a range of influences to create something that feels fresh and distinctive — a feat that makes sense considering Klausner’s long and impressive track record writing for comedy, TV and entertainment media (Klausner, just like her character on the show, used to write “Real Housewives” recaps for Vulture). Here are some of “Difficult People’s” most notable pop culture analogs and inspirations:

1. The cringe comedy of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

“Curb” might be “Difficult People’s” closest comedic analogue, with Julie Klausner describing the show to Entertainment Weekly as “’Curb Your Enthusiasm’ if the two leads had never created ‘Seinfeld.’” Judging by the first three episodes, Julie and Billy certainly share Larry David’s misanthropy, neurosis and tendency to instigate unnecessary conflicts, yet without money and fame to help justify their oversized egos. And, just like on “Curb,” many of the show’s conflicts stem from Billy and Julie’s tendency to transgress the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior: The pilot has the pair getting in trouble for lewd language during a matinee of “Annie” on Broadway, while another incident centers on Julie getting in trouble for a tweet about R. Kelly peeing on Blue Ivy (thank god show-Larry didn’t have …read more


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