One of TV’s Best New Shows Is a Self-Help Infomercial

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 21 2012 4:35 PM

One of TV’s Best New Shows Is a Self-Help Infomercial

1353533536738
Michael Ian Black as Randall Tyree Mandersohn on You're Whole

YouTube/Adult Swim

Tired of staying up at 4 a.m. flipping through the same old infomercials? Weep no more: Comedian Michael Ian Black has delivered his very own brand of infomercial in a new parody series on Adult Swim, called You’re Whole! And if you act now, you can watch it all right at your own computer, for free. You heard that right: Free!

Let me tell you just some of what You’re Whole has to offer. In a witty send-up of American self-help culture, Black plays New Age guru Randall Tyree Mandersohn, a multi-hyphenate professional of such varied practices as lecturing, intramural volleyball, birdcalls, glassblowing, and worshipping with all religions. With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and memorable acronyms—to lose weight, just use the SPC diet: smoothies, pumpkins, and cookies!—Mandersohn teaches his devotees how they, too, can be whole. And he does it all “while being totally blind!”

Advertisement

Black, who gives a wonderfully committed performance, has pretty much every common trope of the self-help craze covered. You name it, he’s satirized it. Perhaps the most scathing treatment is given to the way many American gurus appropriate foreign rituals for Western audiences. The expert, a self-described follower of the “Orientals,” vows to impart upon us all the “ancient Chinese secrets” that lie waiting for discovery—like intense massaging of the buttocks and his very own “Oriental” music.

Black’s project for the network comes after a previous failed attempt by comedians David Cross and Jon Benjamin to get a similar parody series off the ground, called Paid Programming. But unlike Paid Programming, which used only unknown actors and would have been listed with little to indicate that it was a parody, You’re Whole is already finding some success—at least three episodes of the series already aired. (“Finger Puppets/Saxophone/Fish Tank” and “Tools/Drawing Comics/Spin Class” are the other two.) It is unclear whether we can expect more installments, but don’t wait to get started! There’s never been a better time to get your fill of You’re Whole.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Propublica
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 19 2014 7:30 AM Persistence Pays Off: The Smoking Trail of a Shooting Star
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.