While we mourn canceled TV shows left and right, sometimes you are just thankful these programs got to exist in the first place. Today, we're talking about Adult Swim's Joe Pera Talks With You (which is available on HBO Max), which starred the titular comedian. It aired its third and final season in the fall of 2021, as we've just learned.
Pera announced this cancelation in his email newsletter (via Deadline, which reported the news last week) stating "The more I learn how TV works, the more I realize that it’s kind of a miracle that our quiet, 11-minute show about rocks, beans, grocery stores, and breakfast crews got on the air and lasted as long as it did."
Pera didn't blame anyone at all for the cancelation, but it comes at a bad time for anyone making scripted programming under the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery.
What was Joe Pera Talks with You?
In Joe Pera Talks With You, which ran for three years, Pera played a fictional version of himself. The character is a mild-manner middle school choir teacher living in Michigan. It focused on dry and everyday topics such as building a fire, sitting in "a retirement chair" and going on hikes. Joe addresses the audience directly, as if he's the most wholesome vlogger ever.
Here's a taste of Joe Pera's show, a full first season episode entitled "Joe Pera Talks you Back To Sleep:"
The series is comprised of short episodes (around 11 minutes each), and spun out of an animated short. Joe is soft-spoken and earnest. Fellow comedian Jo Firestone played Sarah Conner, Joe's love interest and later girlfriend. In the series, we meet Joe's neighbors, his best friend and his parents.
There's not a whole lot about this show to explain, except that as Pera said, his show getting three seasons at Adult Swim is a minor miracle.
What critics and fans thought of Joe Pera Talks with You
Reviews for Joe Pera's show tapered off over the years, as evidenced by the Rotten Tomatoes page which only has a score (albeit a 100%) for the first season. That season had six logged reviews, while season 2 (four reviews) and season 3 (three reviews) had fewer.
Allegra Frank at Polygon wrote that Joe Pera Talks With You's first season was both "artful" and "Adult Swim's funniest show in ages." At The New Yorker, Doreen St. Felix called Pera "a fragile yet towering philosopher of the everyday."
For season 2, Daniel Kurland wrote for Den Of Geek that the series "is still one of the most honest and heartwarming comedies that is currently on television." Brianna Wellen, writing about season 3 for AV Club, called JPTWY "A charming, hilarious, and thoughtful bite-sized series that provides all the nourishment you need."
Outlook: Where will all the weird shows go?
As mentioned above, Warner Bros. Discovery seems to be canceling a lot of well-regarded scripting programming lately. Joe Pera Talks With You may have been too quaint for this world, but we only hope that some other streaming service gives Pera a home for his next project.
Joe Pera Talks With You, in a way, reminds me of Old Enough!, a low-stakes series that follows toddlers in Japan as they go on errands without adult supervision. A season of the series was added to Netflix earlier this year, and we hope this kind of programming decision, and Netflix's love of comedy means that the big red streaming machine is giving Pera a call.