TBS launched a new show called Chad and well… It’s terrible.
Nasim Pedrad pulls off a bold, bizarre comedic feat in “Chad,” the new single-camera comedy from TBS. She fully immerses herself into her portrayal of a 14-year-old boy, without the story ever winking that the character is being played by a talented comedian (who happened to honed her skills with similar characters on “Saturday Night Live”). Hulu’s comedy series “Pen15” did something similar, with Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine playing versions of their middle school selves, creating excellent and honest awkwardness with their arrested development performance art. But Pedrad raises the stakes by playing a boy, one who can be especially pesky or create even more chaos wherever they go. It’s “Leave It to Beaver” or even “Napoleon Dynamite” but with Pedrad as the lead, and it’s best when it’s a loving parody of being a teenage boy.
Chad is a prototypical ninth grade male, with his oversized turtle shell backpack, his dreams of popularity, and complete lack of self-awareness. Series creator Pedrad and the show’s writers lean into this a great deal, and make it so that while Chad already looks kind of alien with Pedrad playing him, he’s also hands-down the strangest kid in his high school. He doesn’t know how to reach his goal of coolness (which would mean the acceptance of highly popular classmate Reid [Thomas Barbusca]), but Chad thinks he can just make it happen. In the first episode, he randomly goes up to some people and says that he had sex over the summer. It’s a complete lie, and it ends up blowing up in his face when he feels the pressure of living up to the new reputation. While reflecting the ridiculousness of youth, “Chad” often has a funny way of throwing a wrench into his latest scheme for acceptance.