The Incredible Television of John Lehr & Nancy Hower

 

 

The wife and I have ditched our cable. Not literally. It’s more of a spiritual abandonment. The water runs, we just don’t drink. Our televised entertainment comes from streaming Netflix and whatever else we can get from our Roku. The downside of this is that we don’t get to watch anything live. No sports, but then no infomercials. No Food Network but also no time wasted surfing dead channels.

What has turned out to be the biggest score from this experimental detachment from Comcast is we’ve been forced (or given the opportunity – Perspective element) to watch what’s available, most of it being films and shows we’ve never heard of. After working our way through all the Dr. Who episodes we could handle I took to try out some other shows. One being ’10 Items or Less’. It’s an inspired take on the sitcom format. The show is a partially improvised half-hour comedy about the Greens & Grains grocery store in the midwest, and its quality is above and beyond ninety percent of television out there.

The cast, lead by creator John Lehr, accomplish something that most network shows never do — they’re hilarious yet have heart. The stories are absurdist but grounded. When John Lehr’s character, store owner and manager Leslie Pool, wants to slaughter a cow live in the meat department, it absolutely makes sense. The moment is both funny and sad, birthed from enthusiastic insanity. I’m coming to this show late, as it has been off the air for a while, but now that all three seasons exist in the world of streaming digital media it has become a classic at the house.

 

Actor / Writer / Comedian John Lehr as Leslie Pool from '10 Items or Less'

Actor / Writer / Comedian John Lehr as Leslie Pool from ’10 Items or Less’

 

John Lehr in his original series 'Jailbait'

John Lehr in his original series ‘Jailbait’

 

As most things go these days, I searched the cast and makers of the show to see if they done anything else and we found more John Lehr fare. Crackle is streaming Jailbait, a web series created by John Lehr and Nancy Hower. The show is made up of short vignettes of main character Ozzie O’Conner, played by John Lehr, during his stay at prison. The show is entirely improved moments of dark humor and crazed optimism in the face of prison life.

I love finding artists like John Lehr and Nancy Hower, people who just constantly make stuff. Interesting and weird and funny stuff. Want more? Go to their You Tube page. Tons of STUFF. Or check out John’s Twitter.

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10 thoughts on “The Incredible Television of John Lehr & Nancy Hower

  1. I’ve reduced to just the “basic” cable of the local networks and PBS. I have never been tempted to rejoin the “full” cable experience. Do I really need fake cooking shows and poorly done crap like HGTV, the History Channel, etc….the answer always comes up no, especially when I see a lower cable bill.
    But I do pick and choose what I can that is worth streaming!

    1. I was much happier when I was living in a studio apartment in San Francisco with no cable, just a stack of DVDs and VHS tapes. I watched way more films back then, exploring genres and directors I wasn’t too aware of. Now, the temptation to watch reruns of decent sitcoms win out. I can’t seem to temper the urge watch an episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER without the full removal of it from my life. My will is too weak to fight that fight.

      Streaming content does seem the better way to go. Netlix, Crackle, and Hulu Plus all have vast libraries with some hidden gems. That’s the exciting part to me, being turned on to something I never knew existed, like your post about Grim Natwick.

      1. i can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to find someone who so totally gets what john is up to. and btw 10 Items was entirely improvised. They have an outline but no dialogue and the cast never even sees the outline script. A new show is coming your way. Get ready!

  2. Don’t tell John and Nancy but working with them is one of the most favorite things of my career. I adore them – thanks for this wonderful blog.

    1. Oh, man! Thanks for reading! You were hilarious as Carl! I’ve been emailing with John, I’ll hopefully have an interview with him posted soon!

      I’m constantly singing the praises of ’10 Items or Less,’ a pretty perfect TV show. I’d love to do an interview with you Bob, if you’re interested!

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