“I’m Peace. I have a Ph.D. in medieval studies. Which means I owe $200,000 in student loan debt at 49 percent interest rate! Whoops,” Maria Bamford quips as she introduces herself and the other endearingly in-debt characters in her new Funny or Die series, The Program.
Bamford and fellow L.A. comedian Melinda Hill co-wrote the show, which follows the journey of five members of a 12-step, Debtors Anonymous program. The two came up with the idea while carpooling to various Anonymous meetings that they “may or may not” have attended in L.A.
“We wanted to create something as close to, and respectful of, this world — and funny — as we could,” Bamford tells the Weekly. “And to celebrate this special culture, of which L.A. has the most in the world!”
Two episodes have been released, but the green light from FOD to shoot more is still pending. The stellar cast is reason enough to hope for more. Bamford’s quirky voices and loquacious neurosis are a joy unlike anything on TV. Hill brings her classic ditsy charm to Kelsey, the former sex worker who dates to eat, and Oscar Nuñez (The Office) is creepily captivating as the group’s kindly schizophrenic.
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It’s refreshing to see a comedy that prods at America’s uncomfortable relationship with debt and the feelings of entitlement that often lead us to live outside our means.
Here’s hoping the team gets the funding to continue the series. But if not — they could always charge it.
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what’s worth watching online. You can watch The Program on FunnyOrDie.com. Read Stephanie Carrie’s full interview with Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.