NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on April 16, 2020
I have a theory. It’s a simplistic theory, it’s a bad theory, but it’s a theory. Every single wrestler who tries acting will, at some point, make an average-or-worse children’s film. Hulk Hogan basically made a career out of them in the 90s, The Rock did a whole bunch of bad kids films in the 2000s, John Cena recently joined the club with Playing With Fire and so did Dave Bautista with My Spy. If you can name any other bad kids films by wrestlers, please do so in the comments.
It’s a fun little trend that kind of gives you an idea of what to expect when “Wrestler” and “Family Friendly Media” intersect so when I saw the wrestler The Big Show was doing a family-friendly sitcom I was ready for the pain… turns out, Big Show managed to put on a good show, albeit one we’ve seen before
The Big Show Show follows a very standard sitcom setup, the assorted misadventures of a nuclear family with the husband, wife and 2.7 children. The Big Show’s wife, Cassy (Allison Munn) is a real estate agent and the parent who handles most of the punishment. His eldest daughter, Lola (Reylynn Caster) is Big Show’s daughter from his first marriage and is adjusting to life in Florida. His middle daughter, Mandy (Lily Brooks O’Briant) is a bookworm who runs for class president and has several issues involving burritos. Finally, there’s the youngest daughter J.J. (Juliet Donenfeld) who is only a few years away from getting a hairless cat and a henchman before she goes to kill James Bond.
For eight episodes we just watch as this little family go through the standard sitcom storylines like “Daughter has her first date” “Stupid contest between family members” and “Parents go on vacation, kids throw party”. I can’t say that there’s a single original plotline to be found in The Big Show Show, it’s playing the same standard setups that every other sitcom has done and it’s playing them almost note for note.
Fortunately for The Big Show Show, it’s secret is that it has some of the most charming sitcom characters I’ve seen in a very long time. They may not be nuanced, but every performer is determined to make the audience laugh no matter how cheesy they have to be. So many lines are delivered like they should be followed by a wink and an elbow to the ribs and for the most part, it works.
The best at this is, incredibly, J.J. who is just doing an impression of Stewie from the early seasons of Family Guy and making it work. You see her evil genius shining in episode 3, “The Big Brain” where she’s moved into the smart kids’ class and ends up… well, turning herself into the evil genius she was born to be, let’s put it that way.
The other big surprise, though it really shouldn’t have been, was how good Big Show is at physical comedy. The man isn’t afraid to make himself look stupid for the purposes of a joke and I respect how he just throws himself into everything.
His physical comedy chops are probably at their peak in the penultimate episode of The Big Show Show, The Big Surprise, when Big Show goes back into the ring. It’s always fun seeing a wrestler take the sport they became famous for and using those skills to create some impressive comedy and Big Show might be one of the best at this. Plus he just has a natural charm that makes a lot of this work.
That charm is what The Big Show Show basically leans on from the start. I might not be able to say this is anything special, but it has a certain naïve charm that just works. I should probably roll my eyes when the show drags fellow Netflix star Tan France onto set to make a couple of fashion jokes but it’s just so charming that I’ll let it slide.
I should be groaning, audibly, when a character is named Taylor Swift purely so they can name drop multiple Taylor Swift songs (and have the “Giant man loves girly things” joke) but I can’t help but just smile at how they lean into the silliness of it. This should not work, but it does.
The Big Show Show is not going to go down as one of the greats and good luck quoting any of the jokes, but I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy the few hours I spent watching this show. This is pure Netflix junk food, a bunch of empty calories that I forget shortly after but I don’t regret having. I’m not saying I’d be eager for a second season, indeed associating the term ‘eager’ with The Big Show Show might be the funniest thing I’ve ever said, but I wouldn’t object to it. The Big Show Show is a harmless escape into familiar feeling silliness with a lot of good-natured laughs throughout.