I don’t really get to watch a lot of TV these days. I’ve been a bit busy writing books and working on this blog. But while channel hopping recently, I found this hilariously funny new comedy show called Depp v. Heard.
Now, I have missed a few episodes and so, I’ve only caught some of it. From what I’ve managed to work out, Depp v. Heard is a kind of mockumentary courtroom drama. Think Ricky Gervais’ The Office, only about a thousand times funnier. The cast is brilliant. You’ve got Johnny Depp (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco) playing himself, except it’s like a really funny and exaggerated version of him. He has these really witty and well-observed comments that he makes regarding the whole case. Amber Heard (The O.C., Californication) plays this manipulative and clearly terrible liar, who is claiming that Depp beat her up but has zero evidence.
The plot seems to revolve around the idea that Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for liable over her obviously false claims of his abuse that she wrote about in a newspaper column. So far Depp has had to defend himself against numerous allegations, that are very clearly false, thrown at him by Amber Heard’s lawyer. Now, this is where the real comedy comes from. So Heard’s lawyer is a guy called Ben Rottenborn. I’m not sure who plays this character as I’ve not been able to find a full cast list yet. Anyway, Rottenborn is not only a funny name, he’s probably the funniest character in the whole show. He could even be a contender for one of the most hilariously funny comedy characters ever made.
I don’t know who the writer is on Depp v. Heard but they deserve all the awards that should be coming to them for how brilliantly observed this Rottenborn character is. I mean, every good comedy show has the staple idiot character. The one who becomes the butt of a lot of jokes but also provides some of the best comedy a show has. Think Manuel from Fawlty Towers, an absolutely clueless employee that really is well in over his head. The only real difference is that Manuel had the excuse of being Spanish, so he didn’t really understand the English language fully. The Ben Rottenborn character doesn’t have that defence though as he is a native English speaker. Yet, he’s still utterly clueless and unable to do his job properly. I mean, I don’t want to get into spoilers here but there was one bit where Rottenborn raised an objection against a question that he himself asked. Fucking hilarious, if a little exaggerated as there is no way that a real lawyer could be so stupid.
What is really impressive about the Depp v. Heard show is that it is actually broadcast live. That’s a lot of pressure on the actors as live TV can really lead to a lot of problems with actors fluffing lines and so on. But to add a layer of authenticity, Sky News is broadcasting it via its YouTube channel. It really is a genius idea that adds a layer of ‘realism’ to the show and the whole mockumentary concept, even Ricky Gervais never did that. You can also catch previously broadcast episodes, easily found with a quick interwebs search. I recommend that you do too as it is hilarious.
If I have to find fault with the show, then there are times when you can hear people laughing in the background. This usually happens when Depp delivers one of his cutting witticisms or observations (“a mega-pint?”, “I wasn’t participating in the festival of ice cream.”) or when Rottenborn makes a complete idiot of himself, which does happen a lot. This does kind of break the immersion of the whole mockumentary courtroom drama feel. Plus, episodes do seem to drag on a bit sometimes. I’m talking several hours long and that can get a little boring after a while. Still, you can watch edited highlights which just gets to all the best bits. Also, there have been a few times when actors have broken character and you can see both Johnny Depp and his lawyer creasing up laughing at Amber Heard’s lawyer’s incompetence. Still, it is a live TV show and you kind of have to expect little bumps like this.
There’s a lack of characters. I mean, in real life when you have similar cases involving celebrities, multiple people always step forwards to collaborate the story of the accuser. Yet here, there hasn’t been anyone who has come forward to speak out against Johnny Depp except for Amber Heard. In fact, quite the opposite has happened with people very clearly stating that Depp has never abused them in any way and how he is a great person to work for and with. This does feel a bit unrealistic and it does give away the fact that you are really watching a TV show.
Another issue is that it is kind of obvious where the plot is going. Even a blind person can see that Johnny Depp is easily going to win this as Amber Heard’s legal team are complete jokers. Unless the writers can pull off some kind of clever twist at the end that sees Depp lose and shows the judge and jury as being as utterly clueless as the Ben Rottenborn character is, then I really don’t think the plot and resolve will surprise you.
Anyway, I say give Depp v. Heard a watch. It really is the best comedy show this year, if not this decade. I hope they release it on Blu-ray once it had finished its TV run. They could pack it with loads of special features that look at how the show was made, interviews with the writers and actors, etc.