Reel Rundown: Documentary Now!


Elise Flor, Student Columnist

Documentary Now! Was the brainchild of two notable Saturday Night Live alumni, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, both of which were cast members of the show for almost a decade each. Their wacky show centers around the concept of mockumentaries, or mock documentaries (for our purposes, I’ll call them “mocks”). Some are parodies of existing ones, and some are completely original stories. With each episode of the show being a different 20 minute mock, the three season run had a plethora of hilarious moments.

The format of the show is not unlike that of a PBS expose that has been on the air for as long as anyone can remember; Dame Helen Mirren welcomes the audience back to the show, gives a brief summary of the mock we are about to see and the show is on the road.

Hader and Armisen manage to take themselves completely seriously and throw their dignity to the wolves at the same time. Both actors/creators/writers usually have prominent roles in each mock, often playing off of each other in their delivery and comedic timing.

Most often, the mocks center around “out-there” characters whose comedy is unintentional. There are no jokes told in the show, it is purely situational comedy and is set up to seem like the ridiculous lives of fictional documentary subjects.

Each mock has a distinctly different feeling to it, with a different theme, subject (obviously) and tone. Some are presented to seem serious or somber, but the lines delivered by supporting actors or stupid decisions made make them utterly hilarious.

This show is perfect for sick days, background noise, casual viewing, date night and basically every other situation. It is available on Netflix and is perfect to watch in any order, so you can pick ones that will fit the mood you happen to be in on that particular day.