Updated: May 11, 2020
I never take the opportunity to sit down and watch shows anymore. They all come out at the same time, and through many biased opinions shared by mutuals on Twitter, I usually lose all interest in a show of interest. I develop FOMO or receive a lot of pressure from close friends to watch a show as soon as it releases to the public. Between sit-coms, thrillers, romance, comedy, and anime, I cannot keep up anymore.
You would think that as a journalist, I would be excited to have a conglomeration of new shows to watch, but I am overwhelmed, especially when you receive a bunch of, “Did you watch it? How was it? I want your opinion!” text messages.
Yet, there was a show that I came across on Twitter that I wanted to check out, and thanks to the biased reviews and stereotypes around the protagonist, I could watch it in peace. I bookmarked a Tweet about the show’s upcoming episode so that I wouldn’t forget.
Unfortunately, I forgot, until someone close to me came by to hang out one Friday night, clicked on Hulu, and clicked on the first episode of the hilariously witty, extremely uncomfortable, completely vulnerable, and surprisingly relatable show, “DAVE.”
David Burd, notoriously known as Lil Dicky, isn’t necessarily the most beloved rap artist because of his questionable content. Still, he is loved by those who are willing to try to understand him. That’s part of the premise of the Kevin Hart-produced series. Lil Dicky identifies to his peers and listeners as a comedic rapper, but he wants to prove to the world that he is much more than gimmicks, memes, and dick jokes. Throughout the series, you get to witness an extremely awkward guy with poor social skills mature through his friendships, relationships, and artistry.
This show overflows with celebrity guest appearances. I have never seen a show with such a bomb of just outlandish celebrity pop-ups. It was almost like Lil Dicky was screaming the fact that he has famous friends. I don’t want to give anything away and name the celebrities to those who haven’t watched the show, but be prepared to say, “What the fuck?” a lot during the show. I will say that one of my favorite moments is when Dave’s friend Elz (played by Travis “Taco” Bennett— hell yeah. I’ll get into him a little later) gets assigned to babysit a prominent artist's nephew (Episode 7, “What Wood You Wear?”) He is too freaking cute.
Dave has a mission to prove to himself and the world that he is one of the best rappers of all time. To have this statement hold, he must convince his friends, family, and girlfriend to believe this as well. They are super skeptical at first (within good reason), but anything for a friend, right?
We know Lil Dicky, err, Dave. He’s the central star.
Ally (Taylor Misiak) & Dave. Episode 3, "Hypospadias"
Directly linked under Dave is Ally, his girlfriend & kindergarten teacher, who accepts all of Dave’s flaws and supports his goals. Yet, it’s Lil Dicky who she has an issue with, and that brings a bit of turmoil within their relationship.
GaTa & Mike (Andrew Santino). Episode 3, "Hypospadias"
Mike is Dave’s roommate, arguably the one with the most common sense in the entire friend group. He works a mind-numbing finance job, which he eventually uses his skills & quits to become Dave’s manager after he sees Dave’s lack of discipline and work ethic. He’s a bit of an asshole, but again, within reason.
GaTa (my favorite character, and honestly the highlight of the show), is Dave’s best friend & hype man. He is also an aspiring artist floating through the rap world. He supports Dave's endeavors and is a source of inspiration for Dave’s confidence.
Elz (Travis Bennett) & Emma (Christine Ko). Episode 7, "What Wood You Wear?"
Elz (another fave, with bias because I recognized him from “Loiter Squad” and he was my childhood crush) is Dave’s childhood friend from Philly. He lives in Los Angelos as an audio engineer but wants to be a music producer. He gives Dave free studio time to record. He is the sarcastic and indifferent character of the friend group.
Lastly, there is Emma, Ally’s roommate and old friend of Dave. She’s the cool girl with primary connections that gets Dave into exclusive parties. She is a designer and creative director who becomes Dave’s source for creative branding.
The relationships between these characters stem from rocky experiences of love, faith, unconditional support, past situations, and patience. Dave’s ignorance & incompetence place a dent in some of his friendships because he isn’t aware of how he looks to other people, nor does he care to take immediate action. That leads to Dave doing some severe self-analysis.
Some moments within the show will make you feel extremely tense, excruciatingly uncomfortable, real hype, and almost cry. Dave has a new way of allowing you to gain a close connection with many of the characters of the show, with some influential relatability factors. How do you publicly show your affection with someone who wants to keep your love affair private? How do you tell a significant other about your insecurities during sex? How do you love someone for who they are, but not like the person they want to become?
Ally (Taylor Misiak) & Dave. Episode 3, "Hypospadias"
Dave expresses the effects of mental health and self-consciousness. We take a considerable dive into Dave’s childhood as he revisits sources of insecurities and inspiration that creates the person he is today. He learns that everything isn’t what he translated it to be.
We also dive into GaTa’s past life in Episode 5, “Hype Man,” and learn where his source of “hype” stems from and how he can remain so calm in situations that should tear him apart. This episode is heartbreaking & made me a higher fan of the character. Be prepared.
As far as Dave is concerned, it gets weird. Very weird. Please be aware of some very uncomfortable scenes in this show. Especially in the season finale!
Mike (Andrew Santino) & Dave. Episode 2, "Dave's First"
As ridiculous as this show is, it also touches on some very prominent issues in the music industry, especially when you are an aspiring artist trying to get your big break. Dave struggles with an “identity crisis” where he wants credit as a rapper with valuable talent. However, he passes as a “comedic rapper,” and many major labels try to brand him off that alone. There is a conflict of what huge corporations perceive him to be versus who he is because the branding makes the most money. It makes me wonder how many talented artists neglected their gift just for a huge check.
Dave. Episode 4, "Somebody..."
Another highlight is the quick and massive success of white rappers funded by predominately white corporations. It seems unfair with how much white artists can get away with because of a cleaner marketing slate with higher chances of publication and funding from other companies. White rappers have a higher chance of sponsorships, film & television opportunities, or more significant show numbers than black artists do. We see it time & time again. We even see it between the friendship of Dave & GaTa (although it isn’t labeled, the message is still clear).
An issue with time management comes here as well. What are your priorities, and what do you value more than others? Mike gets pissed off with Dave in Episode 4, “Somebody…” when he notices that Dave isn’t taking his career as seriously as he claims to take it. He wants the acknowledgment of being one of the best rappers of all time, but he still creates a “comedic” subject matter and hasn’t released a solid song in months. Mike is tired of watching Dave & himself waste their lives away under the guise of comfort and stability. Mike takes action, something Dave isn’t innate to do.
With this newfound inspiration, Ally becomes frustrated with Dave when she notices that he is now placing his career over their relationship, creating tension in the link (Episode 9 “Ally’s Toast”). Dave explains that these are the matters he has to take if he wants to obtain success, but Ally explains that his actions are becoming selfish and narcissistic. He now faces an ultimatum.
Elz faces an issue with artists stealing his beats and making viral hits without him receiving any credit or royalties. As a struggling artist, this places so much doubt and discouragement on the conscious mind, but a teaching lesson is in place. If you don’t take your work seriously and put a value on it, why should anyone else?
All in all, this show met and exceeded some of my expectations. I laughed, cried, cringed, and celebrated in a matter of ten episodes. Lil Dicky isn’t everyone’s cup of tea in the rap industry, and I can understand why in many instances, but don’t let any preconceived notions and opinions cloud your judgment from potentially enjoying a pretty solid show.
Will I heavily recommend this show? I wouldn’t say that, but I do invite you to watch it for yourself. It’s quite enjoyable, especially to fill a void in these peculiar times.
Catch the whole first season on Hulu, and let me know what you think!