The thing about Chad is, he’s the worst. This 14-year-old might tell himself he has the best of intentions and in fact he does have a sweet side that bubbles to the surface on rare occasions, but consider just a few anecdotes from the life of Chad:
- When Chad’s braces are removed after seven long years, he tells his orthodontist, “Doctor Tony … I don’t know who encouraged you into this damn field, but you’re a terrible orthodontist.”
- After learning his divorced mother has begun dating a Muslim man named Ikrimah, Chad freaks out. His mother says, “You do realize technically WE’RE Muslim?” Chad replies, “Yeah, we’re Muslim enough, we don’t need people thinking that’s like our whole thing!”
- When Chad’s little sister gives him a hard time, he says, “Nikki, no offense, but you are a whore.” (Mom: “Chad!” Chad: “I said no offense! God!”)
- When Chad sees his friend Denise, he asks, “You still have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?” Denise says, “It’s CHRONIC, so yeah,” to which Chad replies: “That sucks so hard. If it makes you feel better, there are a lot of people who say it’s not even real.”
On Chad’s first day of school, he manages to insult and offend a number of new classmates before the start of first period and later spins wild tales about having had sex over the summer in order to impress the cool kids. That evening, when Chad meets Ikrimah the new boyfriend, he has a total change of heart about the man being Muslim because he’s Black. Chad asks Ikrimah to drive him to school the next morning and cranks up the music as they pull up, in a blatant effort to demonstrate his “cred” or some such thing.
Jeez. Come on, Chad.
This is the setup for the new TBS series “Chad,” a cringe-inducing comedy in the vein of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” only instead of Larry David playing a fictionalized and misanthropic version of himself, 39-year-old “Saturday Night Live” alum Nasim Pedrad is playing Ferydoon “Chad” Amani, a teenage boy. Though the hair and makeup are impressive and Pedrad delivers a razor-edged, all-in performance, we never quite buy her as late-blooming and socially uncomfortable adolescent — but the writing is so crisp and funny and the situations in this sitcom so ridiculously hilarious, we can suspend our disbelief and go with it. (That Chad himself is in such an awkward phase helps Pedrad sell the performance under the oversized polo shirts and baggy jeans.)
As Chad gets into one excruciatingly humiliating situation after another, often because of his offensive takes on race and society, I was actually reminded of Michael Scott on “The Office.” If we saw a “Young Michael” type show about his teenage years, it probably wouldn’t be all that different from “Chad.”
Every episode made me laugh out loud more than once. Every episode also made me want to look away out of horror for what Chad had wrought upon himself.