Review: Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] is unlike anything you’ve seen before

Gaming Show [In My Parent's Garage] title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] title card (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

C

Gaming Show's Jesse and Ian play MLB 14: The Show

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage]’s garage doesn’t look much like a garage. It’s more like a TV show set, which is probably what it is anyway. (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] is a series that’s as unusual as its title, and that’s mostly because it’s a weird mismatch between your standard video game or geek culture TV program (think something like The Anti-Gravity Room or EP Dailyand a kids’ sitcom or sketch comedy show.

Gaming Show's Julia interviews a woman dressed up as Super Mario at Fan Expo

The Gaming Show logo totally looks as if it was printed out on a sheet of paper by an inkjet printer and taped on the mic in this Fan Expo segment (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Gaming Show—Top 5 Ways to Gloat [Brag] When You Win

Gaming Show has a few sketches thrown in to the mix, like this one on how to gloat when you win a game (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Sure, Gaming Show has interviews, event coverage and video game sneak peeks and tips, but it also has random scenes thrown in seemingly just for the sake of being funny. There are several where the hosts (Jesse, Julia and Ian) play video games amongst themselves with a lot of the humour arising when one host loses to another. In the second episode they use the gimmick more than once, and in at least two instances it just appears to be a sly way to shoehorn in an expert to share some gaming tips.

Brett Lawrie on Gaming Show [In My Parents' Garage]

Brett Lawrie does not look like he’s happy to be on Gaming Show (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Nintendo's Seth McMahill on Gaming Show

A fuzzy Seth McMahill chatting with Gaming Show’s Julia (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

For example, early in the second episode, hosts Jesse and Ian play the PS4 version of MLB 14: The Show, however, Jesse is losing 10-0 to Ian. Now playing at bat as Blue Jay Brett Lawrie, Jesse calls the real-life Lawrie for help, and he gives him tips on how to prepare for the specific pitcher throwing balls his way. In another segment, Julia calls Nintendo Pokémon expert Seth McMahill to get advice for the latest Pokémon games as she’s similarly losing in a Pokémon battle to Jesse. McMahill tells her she can import Pokémon from earlier games and Mega Evolve them.

Unfortunately, however, both Lawrie and McMahill’s tips seem quite useless. The pitching style that one specific pitcher relies on seems irrelevant when you’re playing against someone next to you who has control over the pitcher. (This is especially so if the person next to you overhears the entire conversation like what happens during the show.) McMahill’s tips, on the other hand, are nearly useless for those who are familiar with the recent Pokémon games as importing Pokémon from previous games isn’t new and the “Mega Evolution” button in the last Pokémon game was so large that you couldn’t miss it.

Minecraft segment Mine Time on Gaming Show

One of the redeeming aspects of Gaming Show (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

MLB 14: The Show and the latest Pokémon titles are far from the only games covered on the program. Since we’re in the midst of the Minecraft fad, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that there’s a lot of time given to it. Gaming Show has a whole segment devoted to the game, in fact, the “Mine Time” segment is one of the handful of moments when Gaming Show actually resembles a traditional gaming show. The segment has a lot of Minecraft news and some coverage of interesting downloadable content, but since “Mine Time” moves at a whirlwind pace, you might miss it if you blink.

Gaming Show's Jesse visits Sega

Hope you like Sonic the Hedgehog because you can just forget about Grand Theft Auto (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Outside of Minecraft, Pokémon, sports games, and probably Mario and the like, I doubt there will be much here in future episodes that older gamers will recognize or care about. As this show is geared towards kids, that virtually eliminates many of the hottest gaming titles like Grand Theft Auto V from being featured on the show.

Video games have lost their innocence, and it’s a totally different landscape from when Video and Arcade Top 10 was on the air. Games today are grittier, darker and far more realistic. Actually, it seems hard to do a video game show for kids considering the climate of the industry. Not only do you have hyper-violent games constantly topping the charts, but you also have scandals like GamerGate, which you can’t really touch on a show like this.

Gaming Show's Jesse eating a muffin off of a Wii U controller

Finally a practical use for the Wii U’s ridiculous controller (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

That’s far from the only main problem the program has, however. Gaming Show brings a lot of trouble onto itself by having little to no cohesion and making itself seem as if it could wind up absolutely anywhere within the minute. Gaming Show appears to have no idea what it wants to be or where it’s going. It can’t decide if it wants to be a sketch comedy show, a sitcom, or more of a traditional video game show. What’s even more troubling is that it seems to try to do all those things but does none of them well.

Gaming Show's Jesse plays Sonic

A part of me wishes there was more gameplay footage to help me decide if I wanted to play the game or not (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

The gaming element of the show suffers because viewers barely get to see any gameplay footage (at least compared to shows like Reviews on the Run and Video and Arcade Top 10). Those tuning in will also likely leave the show not knowing if the games are worth playing and probably more often than not find the tips shared useless. The Minecraft segment is a redeeming factor in terms of learning about video games, but if you’re watching Gaming Show for the humour, then that particular segment is a snooze fest.

Gaming Show Unicorn Bumper

Some of the show’s humour goes into Adventure Time territory (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Speaking of humour, Gaming Show also fails miserably as a sitcom for many reasons (that’s if it is in fact trying to be a sitcom). The hosts aren’t that well developed as characters, and you’ll also have to pay careful attention to get all of their names. The jokes are standard Family/Disney fare, meaning they’re often dreadful and rely heavily on silliness oppose to cleverness, innuendo, pop culture references or the other types of humour you’d typically find on sitcoms geared to adults.

Still, I have to give credit to Disney XD and Family for trying something a bit different. They constantly turn out stale and unfunny sitcom after sitcom, and it’s great to see they’re trying something else with this series.

Gaming Show's cast gets heavily involved in a soccer game

It may not be game over for Gaming Show (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

Even with all that aside, it’s hard to tell how well Gaming Show will do in the long run as it’s so different from Disney XD and Family’s other offerings. They don’t have many original Canadian productions at the moment, however, so even if this show is not doing well now, that might be enough of a reason for them to be patient with it.

Episode Reviewed: Episode Two
Gaming Show [In My Parents’ Garage] airs Sundays at 6 p.m. on Disney XD and Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on Family

(Featured Image: Screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

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