TV Review: Funny or Die Presents ‘America’s Next Weatherman’

With:
Host: Matt Oberg. Judges: Johnny Mountain, Jillian Barberie

Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach does deliver some laughs, thanks largely to the puzzled reaction shots and absurd stunts the contestants must endure. That said, it’s another matter whether anyone sober enough to get the gag is apt to see it, scheduled as it is at 11 p.m. Saturdays.

On face, everything about “Weatherman” looks like the usual made-for-TV competition, with the candidates vying for cash and a shot on CNN, and two veterans of the Los Angeles TV market, Johnny Mountain and Jillian Barberie, on hand to assess their work. That’s playfully undermined, however, by Oberg’s deadpan lines as the host, at one point referring to himself as “sexually nonthreatening,” and later portentously telling the players that the loser of an elimination contest will be “gone … with the wind.”

The contests, moreover, exhibit a greater-than-usual willingness to mess around with the aspirants, such as dropping bugs on them in the middle of a forecast, causing even the judges to grimace. In addition, the commercial bumpers include ridiculous audition-tape snippets from hopefuls who didn’t make the cut, such as a medley of those who opted to submit footage of themselves wearing bikinis.

While the “Funny or Die” label should be a tipoff that not everything is as it seems, the producers insist the game itself is on the level. Perhaps so, but some of the contestants come off as so over the top as to feel like plants, which is at the very least distracting.

Nevertheless, it’s worth watching (or not immediately zapping away) if only for Oberg’s antics, which bring a “Colbert Report”-like quality to the process of booting someone off such a competition, with the inevitable cloudburst that greets their exit.

For “Funny or Die,” it’s a relatively minor addition to the company’s brand, but not an unwelcome one. The real question is why TBS would treat something that at least tries to bend the mold in what appears to be slapdash fashion, scheduling-wise. For that reason, while “America’s Next Weatherman” is actually better than fair, the forecast remains cloudy, with a chance of cancellation.

TV Review: Funny or Die Presents 'America's Next Weatherman'

(Series; TBS, Sat. Aug. 8, 11 p.m.)

Production: Produced by Funny or Die and United Artists Media Group.

Crew: Executive producers, Mark Burnett, Mike Farah, Joe Farrell, Dean Houser; co-executive producer, Gretchen Kinder; supervising producers, David Offenheiser, Seth Morris, Ryan Polito; camera, Adam Tash. 60 MIN.

Cast: Host: Matt Oberg. Judges: Johnny Mountain, Jillian Barberie

More TV

  • Pose Season Finale

    The Revolutionary Happiness of 'Pose' (Column)

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • Bill Skarsgard Castle Rock

    Bill Skarsgard on How 'It' Influenced His Work on 'Castle Rock'

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • PyeongChang Winter Olympics

    NBCU Gets Ready to Promote a Summer Olympics That Won't Start Until 2020

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • Castle Rock

    Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of July 23, 2018

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • Golden Globes

    HFPA, Dick Clark Productions Near New Golden Globe Awards Rights Deal With NBC

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • TV Ratings: 'Ghosted' Goes Out on

    TV Ratings: 'Ghosted' Goes Out on Quiet Note

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

  • BBC Studios Shakes Up Content Team

    BBC Studios Shakes Up Management Team, Hands Mark Linsey New Role

    Building a spoof element into a reality-TV competition seems fraught with peril, but “America’s Next Weatherman” pretty deftly navigates those currents, with Matt Oberg (“The Comedians”) playing a weird, off-kilter host while almost everyone else appears deadly earnest about what’s transpiring. If not as inspired or elaborate as, say, “The Joe Schmo Show,” the approach […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content