A Souped Up Version of The Soup

“Now where was I? Oh right, The Bachelor.”

And with that, Joel McHale is back doing what he does best: making fun of televised pop culture.  More than two years after E! cancelled The Soup Joel has a new show on Netflix, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Like soup (the food), Joel’s take on television is comforting. Like an old friend you never realized you missed until they were gone.

Game On

Like the old program, this is a clip show. Unlike on E!, Joel & company are expanding their horizons.  It turns out there is more to TV than standard American reality shows.  Like sports.  E! felt their viewers wanted to keep up with Kardashians but not athletes. But Netflix is playing ball and he’s tackling them head on in the creatively named Sports Segment. The first episode looks at a sparsely attended basketball game with an enthusiastic announcer, professional wrestling’s uncomfortable commercial break, and a Netflix competition show, Ultimate Beastmaster.

McHale is also expanding his TV universe.  Since Netflix has global reach it makes sense to watch shows from around the globe.  Joel’s International Corner, which refers to anywhere that’s NOT the US as “everywhere else,” took us to South Africa, Regular Africa, and South Korea.

Bite The Hand That Feeds Him (or at least signs the checks)

It appears Netflix is in on the joke and has given him free rein to poke fun at the streaming giant’s foibles. In addition to taking a jab at Ultimate Beastmaster, he took us on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the Netflix compound, which included a Community reunion and former co-stars that may or may not be moonlighting at the studio’s coffee bar.  He took shots at E! shows back in the day, but word is a reality matriarch was Keeping Up with him and didn’t appreciate the humor.

More Adult (but not grown up)

There’s a freedom that comes with not having to worry about offending advertisers. That freedom usually manifests itself in the form of extreme violence (think Game of Thrones) or language (think Game of Thrones). Joel doesn’t get super violent (except for the montage of South Koreans getting hit by cars), but has expanded his vocabulary since the E! days.  It seems South Africans call their kids ‘kunts.’  Joel proudly told us he has two kunts at home himself.  There are also F-bombs thrown in, but they seem pretty organic, not in a “look what we can say now” sort of way.

Be My Guest

Also like the old show, there are tons of guests.  Besides the parade of Netflix stars, Kevin Hart showed up to open the show and Jason Priestly came by to be part of a skit and promote his new show. Seems like old times. Except for the parts that didn’t.

It’s basically a slightly edgier version of The Soup, but we definitely feel like the team was knocking some rust off during the first episode.  Structurally it’s about the same but missing an ending.  The old show had the Clip of the Week.  Here it just sort of ends.  Although the credits are worth watching!

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

Bloody Mary. Extra Celery.  New episodes post on Sundays, and are perfect to watch during a bitchy brunch.


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