For the past couple years we’ve seen Tim & Eric bringing us some of the funniest, off-beat¬†shows on TV from Nathan For You, to Comedy Bang! Bang!, to Review, and it’s with some restraint that I stop there. But it’s been awhile since we saw them at the helm of a show centered around them as creators. With Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories¬†they return to that position with a style that is absent the sensory overload they are so well known for and heavier on the silliness.

“Haunted House” comes off as a kind of mixture of The Three Stooges and Scooby Doo, particularly in the first half of the episode. But it takes a slight turn and gets a bit meta when Zach Galifinakis’s shatters the illusion that there is not huge crew filming a show by throwing an actor’s tantrum. Most of the time I’m not a fan of this trope because typically the story will cut straight back to the reality that was just intentionally shattered, but Tim & Eric do something really interesting in simply forge on, incorporating that into the reality of the story and making it all the more strange and uncomfortable. I laughed out loud a few times before this turn but it was after it that I felt truly hooked. If there is a modern analog to the Three Stooges it is Tim, Eric, and Zach and coupled with the sophistication of Tim & Eric as film makers it’s really something fantastic.

Now, from what I’ve read elsewhere, this interview they gave with Vice for example, this pilot is not terribly representative of what we should expect from the series. As we move through to the first episode in ernest (“Haunted House” being the pilot) we ought to see something rather darker and cinematic. I for one can’t wait.

Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories premieres Thursday, September 18th at 12:15am on Adult Swim.

Watch It Here