Let’s not beat around the Bulbasaur here, people: The concept for Sam Haft’s new comedy video, “True Detective Pikachu” is pretty much all right there in the title. It’s classic online comedy fodder: Take the upcoming Ryan Reynolds lightning rat vehicle Detective Pikachu, fill it with a lot of grisly murders and HBO=friendly monologues about time being a flat something or other, knock it out in five minutes, and reap the likes in peace.
And yet, an unsettling thought swiftly sets in as you watch the 3-minute video, produced by Haft and his comedy music partner, Bill Bria: “Hey, this is actually pretty good.” Sure, the Pikachu makeup being worn by actor Tommy Kang is distinctly terrifying, but his Matthew McConaughey impression is almost distractingly spot-on. And the video is full of loving little notes for both Pokémon and True Detective fans to latch on to, from the attempt to recreate the HBO series’ famed single-take tracking shots, to the fact that all of Ash and Pikachu’s fellow cops appear to be copies of the ubiquitous Officer Jenny. This is, in other words, a high-effort stab at a very high-concept idea, and there’s something to be said for something this goofy being pursued with this level of commitment. Plus, it ends on a truly stupid joke with a mile-long setup, and that’s something worth celebrating, too.