This season, the vampire comedy had Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) coming out to his family (and preventing them from killing his housemate); Nandor (Kayvan Novak) wishing for the world’s largest penis; Nadja opening a vampire nightclub with barely functional blood sprinklers; and Laszlo (Matt Berry) pronouncing “New York City” the way no human (or vampire) ever has. Guess what? Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) was there, too, first as an overactive child, then a moody teen, then his boring adult self, all the while smashing hammers into walls and other good-time f*ckery, as Laszlo might put it.
But that’s the main cast, all of whom deserve to win an Emmy this Monday (What We Do in the Shadows is up for Outstanding Comedy Series). The other reason season four shined brighter than Edward in the sun, however, is the recurring characters. The weirdos, if you will. These are the lovable freaks who pop by a few times a season, or maybe only once, and steal every scene they’re in. Think: Perd Hapley, Ethel Beavers, and Joan Callamezzo on Parks and Recreation, or Lionel Hutz, Hans Moleman, and Kirk Van Houten (who, much like Baby Colin Robinson, is the owner of a race car bed) on The Simpsons, the gold standard for TV weirdos. These characters probably couldn’t support a whole show (although I once thought the same thing about Saul Goodman, and we all know how that turned out), but it’s a joy whenever these oddballs show up.
This is an ode to some of those weirdos.
Kristen Schaal’s The Guide was in nearly every episode this season, and she provided a fun (and often very aroused) counterpart to Nadja. There is also, as I recently discovered, an incredible amount of fancams online dedicated to those two, and fans wanting them to get together. Maybe now that the Wraiths have been shipped off to Universal Studios in Florida, there’s hope in season five.
Speaking of: the Wraiths are the Minions of the Shadows-verse, except even less understandable. It’s mostly a lot of hissing. They’re faceless evil employees who are pro-union and pro-killing one of their own if they obtain the precious Water Lily of the Nile. They don’t ask for much, other than supply closets to sleep in. If the Wraiths don’t return, I hope they find work elsewhere. I hear the Lord of the Rings show might be interested.
This post is dedicated to the weirdos of What We Do in the Shadows, so maybe I’m cheating by including the Djinn (Anoop Desai), the closest thing this show has to a “normal” (f*cking) guy. Guillermo used to be the show’s straight man, so to speak, but he’s as loony as the rest of his housemates. Meanwhile, the Djinn makes Nandor’s bounty of bizarre wishes come true with barely concealed exasperation. “The character first was described to me as very dry accountant vibes,” Desai told Vulture. “I was familiar with the show, and so as soon as I had that description, the character was fully formed in my mind almost immediately, with the glasses and the deadpan and all the things that have been hallmarks of the character this season.” I might start wearing my glasses on the tip of my nose, too. I’m sure it’ll look just as cool on me.
The next time a friend asks you if they should watch What We Do in the Shadows, tell me, “Well, only if you enjoy shows where indie film legend Jim Jarmusch watches director Sofia Coppola and her rock star husband, Thomas Mars, get sucked dry and beheaded by vampires at a vampire night club, and he spends the rest of the episode wondering how they pulled off the ‘gag’ even though his friends are dead for real.” If they think Shadows isn’t for them after that description, find new friends.
It’s rare for a comedy to surprise you, but I was in awe of the twist in this season’s Property Brothers spoof where we learn that Simon the Devious (Nick Kroll) has been the mastermind behind Lazlo’s favorite home renovation show — sponsored by Kohl’s — all along. The episode gave us the return of the cursed witch’s skin hat and Simon the Devious’ list of cronies, including Gunthrapple, Wesley Sikes, Evil Steve, Freakfest Tony, the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem, Elvis, Count Rapula, and He Who Shall Not Be Named… but it’s Greg. I’m going to need an entire episode about the Freak Sisters.
Season four could have used more Marwa, but the way she was effectively written off the show was pretty great. The resurrected bride from the 1200s finds sanctuary in Nandor’s man cave (“I made a wish that we would like the same things,” he says, “now I think that wish has come true — I also think perhaps Marwa has been building this man cave for herself”) and gets turned into an exact copy of Guillermo’s English boyfriend, Freddie. Nothing to psychoanalyze there, nope, nothing at all.
I love domestic bliss between an undead baron, an ancient vampire (who learned to speak English using flashcards), and their fire-breathing dog who all live together in a house in New Jersey so they can feed off Airbnb customers, don’t you?
And now we come to Sean. Good ol’ Seanie, the only human that Lazlo considers a friend. Since making his introduction in the season two episode, “Brain Scramblies,” the one where he shows off the world’s largest collection of Ocean’s Twelve merchandise, Sean has become an essential part of Shadows. He invites the vampires to Atlantic City (“BAZINGA”), gets involved with a pillow pyramid scheme, and in season four, introduces his former-headmaster to Colin Robinson. And his “parents,” who believe their “son” is somewhere between the age of one and 42. I love Sean, kindhearted Staten Island goof that he is, and he provided maybe my biggest laugh of the season.
Long live the weirdos of What We Do in the Shadows. Except for the Baron. He’s already dead.