Plot: Divorced Dad (Matthew Kennedy) is a man who finds himself divorced and a little lost in the world, so he does what anyone in his situation would and starts his own public access television show. He hopes the show will inspire others and help them cope with their own problems, or at least provide them a few laughs. While Divorced Dad hosts the program, he is joined by his cohost Gilles (Gilles Degagne) and various guest stars from episode to episode. Gilles is always around however, sometimes in the studio with Divorced Dad and other times on location, to perform in depth interviews or get into some other kind of trouble. As he tries to keep it together and find his way in the world of the newly divorced, can Divorced Dad stay sane or will the constant chaos of the show push him over the brink?
Entertainment Value: As you’d expect from the Astron-6 team, Divorced Dad is a wild, often unhinged series. The show began on YouTube, but was soon banned from the platform, which is no real surprise. This kind of subversive, unpredictable content seems even more off the deep end in the YouTube world, where reaction videos and daily vlogs tend to dominate. Divorced Dad had a short run, but what a run it was and the episodes are pure gold, if you appreciate absurd, surreal humor. I think it helps if you have a built in appreciation for public access television as well, as the show is steeped in that world and its conventions. The passion for the tech and atmosphere of public access is more than evident, but I don’t see this as simple nostalgia at all. I think Divorced Dad builds on the tropes and aesthetics involved, to create a kind of new vision that amplifies those elements. I imagine some will be confused and others will just be mortified, but I had a lot of fun with these episodes. As with any show, some work better than others, but Divorced Dad is well recommended.
The cast of the show is small and within that handful of performers, only two are featured as regulars. Matthew Kennedy and Gilles Degagne are the central stars of the series and are present in all of the episodes, while the other talents are only around for one shot appearances. Kennedy should be a familiar face to Astron-6 fans, as he is in those movies and other indie productions, always fun to watch and an enthusiastic performer. He brings a unique persona to Divorced Dad and has his moments to shine, though he is often upstaged by Degagne. This is to be expected however, as Kennedy is often the straight man or the one reacting to what is going on, while Degagne is an inferno of chaos in most episodes. Degagne has the awkward, nervous presence down quite well, which really pays dividends in the Man2Man interview segments, but also in general scenes shared with Kennedy. In any event, both are fun to watch here and Degagne is just a madman most of the time.
The Disc: Kino Lorber has launched Divorced Dad on Blu-ray, with all seven episodes included, two of which were never shown. So we have the entire run and while the episodes look good, you have to keep in mind the degraded visuals and general design approach taken here. But I have to think the show looks as good as possible, given the intended look involved. As for extras, we have audio commentaries to share insights on the bizarre episodes, alternate footage for some sequences, a Santa Claus segment, and Chowboys, the Astron-6 short. I think fans will devour all of these supplements, but the short film is an especially welcome inclusion. Kino Lorber has given the show the red carpet treatment, terrific work here.