POST: 'Crude' - the show wasted no time getting mature


What's it about?

Crude follows Jaime Kurtz's struggle as he tries to make a commercial to spin the world's biggest oil spill caused by his family's oil company in less than 24 hours.

What'd I experience?

As soon as I sat down, I felt right at home looking at the set. The show took place entirely in Jaime's living room, this very comforting looking living room. It gave it a very intimate feel as if I was actually in Jaime's home while all of this was going down, which was a great contrast to what was going on.

Jaime was freaking out, his wife was storming out, there were tons of drugs being done and all the while there was the same old comforting room. It was like a weird staple in all the madness, that no matter how crazy everything and everyone was, there was still the comfort of that familiar room. I almost wanted to get up on stage and sit right down in the couch just because I felt so comfortable. Plus, there was a jersey hanging on the wall that I thought belonged to Will Ferrell's character Jackie Moon from Semi-Pro, but it turned out to just be some player with the same last name. Yeah I was a little disappointed, but it still added to the whole "cozy little house" atmosphere.

The show started off and wasted no time getting mature with everything. Like, it was only 15 minutes in and I felt like I was watching a weird softcore porno. There was not actual sex but geez was there some stuff being said. I could tell a few other people were uncomfortable but I found it actually kind of nice, not in a perverted way but it was this "everything is okay and nothing could possibly go wrong" vibe.

Then a breaking news alert happened and it reported that a Kurtz oil company platform just broke and caused the biggest oil spill in history along the Texas coastline. Immediately Jaime, the son of the head of Kurtz oil company and the head of advertising for the company, and his wife Brittany, the head of an environmental organization, started freaking out. It was around this time where I realized the thing I liked about the show so much: It reminded me a lot of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I was half expecting a title card to drop down with the words "The Gang Causes an Oil Spill" on it while the cheery little theme song played

Jaime was almost identical to Dennis Reynolds, with his mannerisms, his talking patterns, his "I'm the greatest and everything everyone else does isn't important" attitude. Even his freak outs were similar, with his voice getting all high pitched and saying some really violent or offensive stuff. For those of you who aren't familiar with Dennis, by the way, here's some examples of what I'm talking about. Even Jaime's friend Aaron, that eventually comes in, reminded me of Mac the way he would go on with stories highlighting his coolness while also suggesting some gay undertones. In this case he was bragging about a 4-way with him, two girls, and another guy, and Jaime kept skeptically asking if anything happened between the guy and Aaron, to which he would quickly and nervously shoot it down.

He also said one of my favorite lines about Facebook that I've ever heard, which dealt with all the annoying baby photos. He was complaining about all the pictures of children that people put up, and Jaime joked around saying "well, I could send you a (and I'm going to say crotch here, but you know what I mean) [crotch] pic to make you more comfortable." Then Aaron responded with the greatest thing I have ever heard, saying "I  would gladly look at 1000 [crotch] pics before I looked at one more f***king baby." That's a pure masterpiece right there, like Plato, Socrates type of stuff. Like I want it framed and hung up in my living room.

One difference between CRUDE and Always Sunny, though, was that there were actually some lessons to learn here. And yeah, you could argue that there are some lessons to learn in Always Sunny, but no one cares not even the characters. The biggest conflict of the show, to me, was trying to stay true to yourself. Jaime was an aspiring and talented documentary filmmaker. His first and only film was a minor success and before he could go on to make another one, his father offered him a lucrative position at the family oil company making advertisements. He was able to continue the whole film making aspect, but going from someone who makes films that bring important issues to the public to someone who helps one of the most notoriously dangerous industries, kind of messed up his sense of self.

As he got more and more into the industry, he was losing that whole environmentally conscious part of himself and was even getting more evil, in a sense. He was doing drugs, threatening his wife, and even goes off to burn his wife's clothing and cheat on her in the end. It was a really interesting decline to watch, and I could see the pain he was feeling inside as he was torn between the decisions he had to make. It was unexpected to me, the way the show started and the whole vibe of most of the show, made it hard to expect any sort of deep personal anguish for Jaime. He was so coked up for a good chunk of the show that it just seemed like he was going to have good times all around. But that's something I really enjoy, having a story that it seems is just going to be a straight forward funny time, and then all of a sudden throw in this really deep and relatable theme to it.  It makes it feel all the more human in a way, where not everything is going to be easy. Yeah you can go along having fun and avoid your troubles or occupy your mind with something else, but it's not going to change the fact that the issue is still there or that you're still missing that part of yourself that you're trying to get back. 

Now before I close this thing off I just want to talk a bit about the experience I had at this theater. Don't get me wrong it was an awesome theater and looked amazing, but just so much went wrong. Not only did I have to walk down a broken escalator to get to the 7th circle of hell that the E train stops at at 51st, but then I had to deal with all the stuff that happened when I finally found the theater. First off I saw a bunch of people standing outside, shoved through them to get to the door, only to realize that the door was locked and they were all waiting to get in. So I just looked like an asshole who thought I was better then everyone else . Then, as more and more people started showing up, I realized that my outfit of jeans and a hoodie was a little underdressed. I somehow visibly and very audibly hit myself in the face with my umbrella (to which either no one saw since no one reacted, or everyone saw and just didn't care to ask if I was alright). Then when we finally got in and sat down, nobody wanted to sit in my little 4 seat row with me until about 5 minutes before the show. When people finally did sit around me, there was a girl sat next to me who was ACTUALLY F***ING TEXTING throughout the whole show on top of being tipsy and hiccuping every two damn seconds. My other lovely theater companions were the couple seated in front of me, which consisted of an annoying woman who dropped a cup of M&M's and wine during the show (both at separate times, and yeah they were selling snacks in cups for some reason, like you could get a cup of Skittles or Twizzlers or something, which was really off-putting) and a man who not only had the largest head in the world, but would also constantly tried to make out with her despite her physically turning his head away and causing me to have to constantly bob around just to see the stage. The one redeeming thing though was that instead of tickets they just stamped your hand at the front desk, and I got a little heart stamp which made me feel all special.


Want to see it?

$18 tickets (thru TDF Membership)

Black Lab Theater
Theater 511 @ Ars Nova
thru May 21