"Follow your dreams," is a popular strain of advice, because unless you're like me and are constantly having dreams where someone chases you through a maze of warehouses while you're also late for work, dreams are a good place where good things happen. Doing something that you feel is your calling, something that makes you happy is an ideal way to live life, and so mass media encourages people to live this way. Just as important, though, and somewhat undercovered as a genre, is fiction that reminds you that following your dreams is a bad idea if you don't actually have the skills to achieve said dreams. Thank goodness for Crashing then, the new Judd Apatow-produced show starring (IRL successful comedian) Pete Holmes, that reminds people that your dreams are dumb and chasing them gets you nothing but shame and failure.

I suppose that makes the show sound little more depressing than it actually is, because while the show has a heart of sadness, the first two episodes are still very funny. Of course it's a little sad to Holmes, playing a comedian named Pete Holmes, flail around on stage telling unfunny jokes and getting ethered by hecklers. It's a little sad to see him, a former youth pastor clearly out of his depth in the alcohol-soaked world of professional comedy, stumble from being Artie Lange's chauffeur to TJ Miller chauffeur while keeping up his positive attitude. It's a little sad to watch the dissolution of Holmes's marriage when he walks in on his wife post-bang with another man, a faux spiritual goofus of a man who then walks out of the bathroom holding a tiny towel over his dick and proceeds to drop the towel out of shock. Actually that scene is really funny. As is Holmes's continuing insistence that his wife supporting him while he chases his dream of being a comedian is just like a wife supporting her husband as he goes to medical school ("At the end of medical school you're a doctor," Lange helpfully points out).

It's all funny, the deer in the headlights naïveté, the bad jokes Holmes tells ("What do you think the employee discount is at the dollar store? You think it's 'Just take it'?"), the way that Artie Lange befriends Pete but also bolts during a subway mugging that leads to Pete getting stabbed. Lange in particular is great in the role of Holmes's first real friend in the city, who despite being sober still manages to destroy Holmes's car and carries an air of chaos around him. With just two episodes out so far, it's impossible to tell what Holmes's fate is. Judging by Crashing's trailer, it's sleeping on a variety of soft surfaces owned by more successful comedians and otherwise continuing to fail at being funny. But! At least it looks like he makes some friends along the way.

The real Pete Holmes told the Today Show that the show is based somewhat on his real life, and for all of my advocacy for giving up on your dreams, Holmes obviously never did. So maybe there's a happy or happy-ish ending for Pete Holmes the character. But given the grind that can turn even talented people into a fine powder when they try to follow their dreams, I still think it's fun for a show to delve into the deep humiliations that await someone who tries to make it in the big city without any discernible talent.

Crashing airs on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO. You can see the first episode online here.