The latest popular new Netflix show reminds us that the service loves Melissa McCarthy, and its audience loves her, too. This new series, which mixes sitcom tropes with fantasy and farce, immediately jumped up the charts the day after its debut.
Arriving on Netflix yesterday (Wednesday, June 15), God’s Favorite Idiot found its way to the better-half of the Netflix Top 10 TV Shows in the U.S. Today list, ranking at No. 4 (Stranger Things 4, All American and First Kill sit ahead of it, in that order).
The series, which is only eight episodes long, looks like a potentially new hit for Netflix. Not only does it have McCarthy’s star power, but it has a premise that’s wacky enough to stretch out over multiple seasons. There’s just one problem, which we’ll get to below.
What is God’s Favorite Idiot?
Ben Falcone (who just so happens to be McCarthy’s husband) created and co-stars in God’s Favorite Idiot, a series wherein he plays Clark Thompson, a guy struck by lightning and then becomes an avatar of God. It all happens because, it seems, he was just near the wrong big cloud at the wrong time. Soon after he’s hit by lightning, the world sorta starts to adjust to his movements. Clearly, the divine is on his side. But he is clueless.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend Amily Luck (McCarthy) is an office worker who’s bit round-around-the-edges. How rough? Well, she mentions accidentally roofieing herself less than five minutes into the first episode. Once they reconnect, Amily figures out something’s going on before Ben does — he’s glowing, you see — and she figures out that a god (possibly the god) is involved with the situation.
Then, Clark finds out that he’s to be God’s agent of change to prevent — you guessed it — the apocalypse from happening.
What do the critics think of God’s Favorite Idiot?
In a situation we wish we could say happens less frequently than it does, critics aren’t really impressed with this popular Netflix Original. At Variety (opens in new tab), Daniel D’Addario kind of explained that this might have been something Netflix saw coming, as the show “dropped without ever been having made available to critics in advance.” That is never a good sign, and it’s likely the cause for God’s Favorite Idiot having a mere five reviews to its Rotten Tomatoes page (opens in new tab), where it’s only scored a 40%.
D’Addario also notes that while fans of McCarthy’s best movies may be excited, God’s Favorite Idiot is the latest of the other half of her ouvre, noting the co-star “has made an escalatingly disastrous series of movies directed by her husband Ben Falcone, including The Boss, Life of the Party, and Superintelligence.” And, unsurprisingly, D’Addario is negative on the series, writing “What a waste of precious time in the career of a talented performer, one whose fans will follow her anywhere, and who rewards them with so little of what she can do.”
Daniel Hart of ReadySetCut (opens in new tab) joins the negative side of the chorus, writing “God’s Favorite Idiot feels too casual for its own good. Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy seemingly pick up the cheque as they venture through each episode and bounce off their supporting characters as much as possible. There is no depth or enough emotional reasoning to be truly invested in this universe.”
There is an upside, though. Lucy Mangan at The Guardian (opens in new tab) notes that “authentic chemistry between the actor and her co-star husband elevates these apocalyptic hijinks to a higher plane.” Her review is only scored three out of five stars, though, so don’t think she’s exceptionally high on this supply.
Analysis: Should you watch God’s Favorite Idiot tonight?
Fans of McCarthys (which Netflix is clearly banking on) will probably watch if they haven’t already. She’s not reinventing the wheel or anything here, but this show seems like a standard goofy sitcom that folks who want such a thing will devour in the around 4 hours it takes to finish its eight half-hour episodes.
That said, I won’t be one of those people. I am always looking for a new show to watch, but god (pun intended) damn I could not find any motivation to keep watching this show after I began it earlier this morning. It could be decent “laundry-folding” TV, but that’s about it. I definitely don’t think it will earn a spot on our best Netflix shows list.