Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Screenshot: Vic Berger (YouTube)

Vic Berger’s done as much as anyone in entertainment to make life in the Trump era bearable. The magic he’s been able to work with existing video footage—deft edits, emphatic zooms, clownish sound effects—highlights unconscious absurdities as much as it does overt ones, resulting in some of the most searing satire of the last decade. Can such an aesthetic translate to other mediums? See for yourself with What The Hell Is Going On??, a pilot Berger filmed for TBS back in 2017.

Berger dropped the 20-minute episode, which was produced by Tim Heidecker and Abso Lutely Productions, to his YouTube channel on Thursday, saying that “after a lengthy development process, it didn’t work out.” That’s a shame, too, because this shit is hilarious. Framed as a documentary-style series about life under Trump, the first episode finds Berger chatting with locals in the town of Bethlehem, PA about whether or not the president can restore the steel industry to its former glory.

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Berger’s manic, acid-dipped style is heavily on display—a mere mention of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse devolves into a feverish score of sweaty Emeril edits—and he’s surrounded himself with a colorful cast of characters, from his antagonizing father to “former presidential candidate” John Finan to Brandon Harris, the creator of a jaw exercise product called Jawzrsize.

Berger hopes that there could be “another life for this show down the line.” We do, too. Looking at you, Adult Swim.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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