The Hard Times of RJ Berger Episode 1 Review

In sitcoms like The Hard Times Of RJ Berger the lead (played by Paul Iacono) is always an incredibly dorky but lovable guy we’re supposed to assume is the ugliest person in the world, even though he’s a little bit above the bottom of the barrell. For the first time we have a show where the lead actually is ugly. Not imperfect looking like Michael Cera or the star of The Inbetweeners, but actually ugly. And that puts you out just enough that the show has to work that much harder to pull you back in.

Luckily for it, it succeeds somewhat with some very excellent, dare i say family guy-esque moments of random left field humor. And I’m taking about the kind of humor they DON’T let out of left field because those selfish left-fielders want it all for themselves, it’s that good. Starting the series with his mother walking in on him masturbating to a drawing of a girl on a dragon is probably the tamest of these gems.

There’s not really a specific story driving the episode like there are in later episodes. This is all about introducing us to RJ Berger, the assortment of very strange friends of his, and that smoking, hotter-than-life crush he has. Ya know, all the staples of a modern day romantic comedy. Oh, and of course the douche boyfriend she has. That’s basically a requirement but we don’t mind, the episode makes such great strides.

There is his best friend Miles Jenner (Jareb Duaplaise, the hilarious sidekick to the shirt-too-tight jock in Transformers 2) who is fat and obsessed with becoming popular but is the one that made me see RJ as ugly in comparison. Then there is Lily Miran (Kara Taitz) who is the friend he doesn’t want due to her wildly creepy infatuation for him. She starts off RJ’s schoolday by bragging how she masturbated to the thought of him earlier. Oh, and she didn’t do it in a bed like he did. It was much worse than that. Then there is Jenny Swanson (Amber Lancaster, actually a current model on The Price Is Right), the aforementioned smoking hot crush, who at one point hilariously rips her dress off with one hand so she can slo mo walk towards our hero in very flattering lingerie. Boner alert, anyone?

Luckily for Berger he finally gets his shot (as much a shots a loser like RJ would) when they get matched up as study partners. We know she’s a good person because she didn’t ditch the nerd and pair up with a bestie like she would have in the real world.

It’s easy to tell that the writer has a real perverted sense of humor and we are grateful for it. Besides the previous examples, our hero has a wonderful and funny dinner with his parents and their best friends/neighbors, another married couple. The talk at the dinner table? Some light flirting between the respective couples. And by light flirting I mean they won’t stop not-so-subtly talking about the orgy they’re having later. The breaking point is when RJ’s mom doesn’t want to be the only one not taking a crack at the neighbor’s wife.

And then there’s the world shattering news: RJ’s dick. Apparently it’s huge. So why hasn’t this sympathetic nerd been riding that gravy train of a blessing all the way to biscuit town? He thinks it’s a curse. And the animated cutaway (an occasional staple of the series) explaining it is a blessing to watch.

Obviously his friend Miles is the smarter of the two.

I have to point out something strange I noticed about RJ though: he has the prerequisite stutter when his crush starts talking to him but once he gets past those first couple seconds he carries on a conversation with her like she’s anybody else. It just seemed out of place. Dorky characters like this usually never catch a break.

On the other side of the equation, I have to comment on the leading lady: though she definitely has the looks to lead viewers to expect as much, I had no idea she got her first exposure through shows like Are You Hot?: The Search for America’s Sexiest People and the already mentioned The Price Is Right modeling gig. That is mainly because she is an excellent actress who holds her own among the less attractive actors (lol) and even shows off some talented chops later on down the line.

So of all these excellent, perverse, and very funny moments, which is the one that inspired me–nay, required me–to come back for all the other episodes. Well let’s just say what RJ does after getting clocked at a party by the chick’s boyfriend is the most fun I’ve had watching a tv show, and everyone in that Starbucks knew it by roaring laughter. Suffice it to say he whips his giant dick out in front of the chick, the boyfriend, and everyone at the party. And that’s not even the funny part. Once you see it for yourself, you’ll know exactly why he’s able to keep a steady voice talking to his lady love: he’s got some balls.

If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely a show that should be sought out. Definitely even just the first episode (reasons coming in the season one review). Definitely something to watch on the Netflix.

And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

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For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are a few helpful links to the physical copies and Amazon digital copies, which are free for Prime Members:

The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season One
The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season Two

Amazon Instant Season One [HD]
Amazon Instant Season Two [HD]