HomeTelevisionMy Brother, My Brother and Me Bridges the Podcast-TV Divide

My Brother, My Brother and Me Bridges the Podcast-TV Divide

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Series Premiere Plot Summary:

Brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin try to help a fan convince his wife to get a pet tarantula.

You may not know the McElroy brothers, but if you spend a decent amount of time online, chances are you’ve run across something they’ve done before. Whether that’s one of their innumerable video series (such as Monster Factory, Car Boys, Things I Bought at Sheetz), any of their many podcasts (including Adventure Zone, Interrobang, Sawbones), or just one of their popular tweets, there is a ton of content out there from some combination of oldest brother Justin, middlest brother Travis, and sweet baby brother Griffin. And now that extends to TV too (at least, as far as comedy streaming service Seeso is considered TV) with My Brother, My Brother and Me, based on their flagship comedy advice podcast.

Much like the podcast the show is based on, the show is structured around the brothers’ attempts to answer questions sent in by fans. Of course, these attempts are usually little more than excuses to go on ridiculous tangents, and that holds true here as well. In this first episode, what is ostensibly an effort to convince a fan’s wife to let him get a tarantula becomes a bizarre PR blitz to rebrand tarantulas (or, as Griffin calls them, “ranchos”).

That means everything from unsuccessfully trying to bring in celebrity guests like Reginald VelJohnson to throwing a tarantula parade in their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. Seeing absurd bits that would normally only be bantered about brought to life is an enormous treat, and the brothers are clearly having a blast getting to actually act upon their crazy ideas.

Part of what makes the McElroy brothers so entertaining is their uncanny ear for finding exactly what is funny about a line of thought and pouncing on it. This makes them a natural fit for the world of podcasting, as they are easily capable of filling an hour with nothing but goofs and constant riffing off of each other. But as a much more visual medium, TV requires something more dynamic than a mastery of conversational humor.

Thankfully, the brothers realized this themselves and took the time to figure out exactly how to make their style work on TV. The result is something strange and unique, not quite a reality show but not quite scripted either. The segments and structure of the episode has clearly been laid out ahead of time, but within each segment they’ve been given wide latitude to improvise and riff as they see fit. It’s difficult to categorize, but it plays perfectly to their strengths and makes for an uproariously funny half hour.

But if either side of the equation could be said to be a bit lacking, it would definitely have to be the “reality” portion. A variety of guests have been brought in to be a part of various segments, and it doesn’t always work perfectly. Some of these scenes are among the worse parts of the episode: a scene spent talking to a local PR specialist drags a little in energy, and though the mayor of Huntington Steve Williams proves a surprisingly game guest, the more obviously scripted portions of his involvement clash with the rest of the show.

Still, “worse” here is a relative term that means “laughed frequently rather than constantly,” and segments with guests are also among the episode’s best. A tarantula expert with a variety of tarantulas to show off to the brothers proves to be an excellent scene partner, and their established chemistry with their father Clint McElroy makes his brief appearances highly entertaining. The unevenness of guest segments can likely be chalked up to growing pains, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they become more consistently stellar later in the season.

Just as important, however, is that these segments also reveal another thing that makes the McElroys so compelling: their deep-seated empathy and kindness. Often when you get these kinds of shows where comedians interact with regular people, the joke is on the people. Their bewildered reaction to someone who is essentially playing a trick on them is where the humor comes from. Not so here. Everyone is always in on the joke in My Brother, My Brother and Me, and the joke is always about the McElroys’ ridiculous requests rather than how people react to them. This allows for everyone to bring something of themselves to every scene; it’s impossible to imagine the tarantula expert segment being as good as it is otherwise.

And even beyond that, there’s the small subplot to this episode of arachnophobic Travis hitting Justin after he simulates the feel of a spider on Travis’ neck. While keeping discussion of it light-hearted and joke-filled, the brothers are still careful to emphasize that Justin’s trick and Travis’ hit hurt, and by episode’s end both have sincerely apologized. It’s a small thing, but it’s difficult to imagine who else would have such a mature and understanding disagreement, let alone choose to include it in their show.

It’s honestly difficult to fully explain what, exactly, makes the McElroys so funny. Much of it comes down to tone, cadence, and the sheer chemistry between them, and it’s nearly impossible to convey that through words alone. All that can really be said is that if you are a fan, rest assured that My Brother, My Brother and Me is as close to the perfect adaptation of their skillset to TV as we could have hoped for. If you aren’t yet, then this is a great place to jump in and see what all the fuss is about. Either way, you’re sure to be laughing the whole time.

Rating: 9 out of 10



Chris Diggins
Chris Digginshttps://alittleperspective.substack.com
"Lord" Chris Diggins, "Grand Prognosticator of ThePopBreak.com" is a staff writer and incorrigible layabout for The Pop Break. He usually reviews TV and movies, although he sometimes writes ludicrously long pieces of critical analysis and badgers the editors to publish it. He cannot be stopped.


  1. Aw, Chris. None of MBMBAM is ever scripted, even the Mayor. He’s just a good guy who knows the boys well, and gamely plays along.

    Otherwise, great review – these brothers are really special people.

    • Yes, of course, you’re right! Scripted was a poor choice of words there. I was thinking mostly of the part where they pretend the mayor is shutting the parade down. It’s not scripted, but it’s more obviously structured than the other more free-form bits, and I think it falls a little flat. Sorry for not being clear!

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