Behind a Hit Show's Renewal: 7 Critics Talk About Why 'Detroiters' Is So Popular

Comedy Central programming bosses agree with fans and TV reviewers who say Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson bring the funny each Tuesday night.

So those two creators and stars of "Detroiters" get to do it again next year with at least 10 more episodes of the zany bromance that uses city streets and landmarks as a setting.

Keegan-Michael Key is a guest this week, playing a furniture store owner nicknamed Smilin' Jack. (Comedy Central photos)

As a follow-up to news about season two, we excerpt seven reviews from this month and last:

'A distinct voice:' It's a contemporary "Dumb and Dumber" that finds the sweetness in male friendship and celebrates a certain junior high sensibility that many men retain throughout their lives. This is silly comedy practiced by very talented people, as demonstrated in the "Smilin' Jack" episode [March 21], featuring the immensely versatile Keegan-Michael Key, a veteran of the tight-knit Detroit improv community that also produced "Detroiters" stars Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson. . . . It's comedy with a distinct voice — and a cast and guests like Key who commit fully to the material. For TV, that's a downright smart strategy.
-- Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, March 18

'Hilarious:' While some of the ribbing is worth a chuckle or two, other details and storylines are laugh-out-loud hilarious. . . . The comedy feels like an organic and positive take on the city because Richardson and Robinson are from the area and in on the joke. . . . Grade: B+
-- Mekeisha Madden Toby, The Detroit News, Feb. 6

'It gets Detrloit right:' It often feels as though Sam and Tim are a couple of amped-up teenagers left unsupervised. . . . Certainly much of the success is due to a familiarity that is difficult to fake. Sam and Tim have been real-life friends for a while, since both began taking classes at Second City Detroit as high school students. . . . Their onscreen life is a parade of buddy challenges, petty bickering, and inside jokes. It works. . . .
And, perhaps most important, it gets Detroit right. -- Stuart Winchester, Viacom blog, March 16

'A bizarre, rollicking joy:' Tim and Sam are kind of like happy kids in the candy shop of the Detroit metro area — and their enthusiasm is made hilarious by brilliantly timed editing. There were several scenes in “Detroiters” that are so helplessly idiotic, so incredibly naïve, that I could not stop laughing. Richardson and Robinson play off of each other with seamless rhythms, and both lean into their roles as knockoff “Mad Men” hucksters.
ome of the best bits in the show are either very bad commercials or very bad pitches for commercials — both of which are opportunities for the show’s many guest-stars to commit wholeheartedly to an unbelievable bit. “Detroiters” is skilled at guiding the viewer to a joke setup without betraying that that’s what is about to happen. . . . it’s a bizarre, rollicking joy to watch. As is fitting for a show named after a place, “Detroiters” is a state of mind — a nice place to visit and stay awhile, to enjoy the world in a completely different headspace.
-- Sonia Saraiya, Variety, Feb. 4


Sam Richardson, right, and Tim Robinson were real-life pals before this show.

'Savvy and funny:' Richardson and Robinson make for likable leads and "Detroiters" is savvy and funny in many ways, but what really made it work for me was the admirable affection that comes from its love for Detroit. . . . Detroiters has a good sense of the geography and infrastructure of the city and also its vernacular. -- Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, Feb. 6

'Pretty damn funny:' There is no ridiculous moment whose boundaries can’t be pushed that much further, into even more ridiculous territory. . . . At times, watching "Detroiters" feels like observing what happens when a pair of Second City alums get access to the "Mad Men" set and decide to go improv-crazy. . . .
Yet the comedy on Detroiters doesn’t quite fall in the cringey category. . . . it’s pretty damn funny. And given how hard it is to find a laugh these days, that counts for something. -- Jen Chaney, Vulture, Feb. 7

'Good-hearted comedy:' The good-hearted comedy of "Detroiters" is primarily interested in Sam and Tim’s unique friendship. . . . There’s physical comedy, high-brow humor, gross-out gags, and some uniquely weird sequences. . . .
There’s a little something for everybody in this anti-"Mad Men" show, where friendship trumps business, the clients couldn’t be smaller and the setting is proudly unglamorous. Rating: 3 stars (good)
- Allison Keene, Collider, Feb. 7

OK, enough reading -- time to see a few choice bits, starting with scenes from last week:


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