“Crashing” Series Recap & Review

posted March 18, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Judd Apatow went on TBS’ “Conan” the Friday before “Crashing” aired its season three finale to announce that the show had been cancelled. HBO decided to cancel the series after its third season, coming as a shock to fans who stuck by the series since the beginning. Now that “Crashing” has come to an end, it is time to reflect on the series as a whole.

At its heart, “Crashing” is a deeply personal story about the realities of trying to become a successful comedian. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, “Crashing” paints a vivid picture of life in New York City as a struggling up-and-coming stand up.

While this road is long and difficult, “Crashing” manages to showcase the hilarity of it all through and through. This is where “Crashing” shines the most. No matter how dark or depressing the subject matter may be, Judd and Pete were able to keep the show funny. Much of this hilarity came in the form of self-deprecation, something Pete Holmes used to sell the idea to Judd when pitching the show.

Much of the self-deprecating humor comes from the real life experiences of Pete Holmes. The initial conflict of the show (Pete walking in on his wife cheating on him and their subsequent divorce) is taken directly from Pete’s life. The story told in “Crashing” feels so real because it is. The similarities do not stop there. Much of the first and second season focus on Pete’s struggles as an up-and-coming comic, with nearly all of the important plot beats coming directly from Pete’s experiences. His college campus tour, handing out fliers for The Boston Comedy Club and his relationship with Ali are all real-life experiences that influenced the story on “Crashing.”

This showcases the other strength with “Crashing." The show does not shy away from the difficulties Pete experienced starting out. From handing out fliers for a mediocre comedy club to get a few minutes on stage to being made fun of by many of the established comedians in the surrounding area, Pete has it rough. While this is played for laughs in the show, it is very reminiscent of what Pete went through in real life when he was starting out.

A mix of Pete’s real-life experiences along with excellent writing paired together for a show that is just as hilarious as it is emotional. While a lot of Pete’s struggles are played for laughs on the show, Pete and Judd do not shy away from highlighting the emotional weight of these situations. Pete’s story throughout “Crashing” is a very emotional one. The writing in “Crashing” works in the emotional and the hilarious brilliantly, telling a story that one can get emotionally invested in while at the same time holding their sides from laughter.

Although “Crashing” met its end, Pete and Judd managed to end the show on a finale-worthy note. “Crashing” ended with more story to tell, but despite this ending, the show made Pete’s story feel complete. This is done by bringing three key ideas to a satisfying end-point, despite Pete and Judd already working on season four outlines. These ideas are Pete’s love life, his comedy career and his religion.

Season three of “Crashing” focuses heavy on all three of these ideas, making Pete’s struggles in previous seasons feel worthwhile. By the series finale, Pete is back with Ali, has decided his comedy integrity outweighs his money drive by leaving a Christian comedy tour and has landed a spot at one of the most distinguished comedy clubs in New York City.

The story “Crashing” set out to tell received a satisfying conclusion, finally ending on an uplifting note. Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow managed to craft one of the most accurate representations of life as a struggling comic in New York City that blends emotion and humor in a way that keeps the audience coming back.

Although “Crashing” has come to an end on HBO, this may not be the end of Pete’s story. On the same interview with Conan O'Brien where Apatow announced “Crashing’s” cancellation, he hinted towards the idea of a possible “Crashing” movie in the future. While both Holmes and Apatow are happy with the story they were able to tell, it is clear that it is not completely finished.

As it stands now, “Crashing” is an excellent series that tells a deeply personal story and manages to stay hilarious all the way through. If you have not yet experienced what “Crashing” has to offer, it is highly recommended.

To read previous articles on season three of “Crashing,” click here.     



Zach Hall is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.