What We Do in the Shadows: On the Run
May 15, 2020 4:29 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

After a vengeful enemy from the past appears without warning, Laszlo flees his home and goes into hiding to avoid certain death.

Mark Hamill makes for a worthy adversary on an irresistible What We Do In The Shadows (Katie Rife for TV/AV Club; rating: A-)
Maybe it’s a “me” thing—like Laszlo, I’m terrible with putting names to faces—but if his role on the show hadn’t been announced in advance, I would not have immediately recognized Mark Hamill on this week’s What We Do In The Shadows. Hamill co-stars as Jim the Vampire (so much funnier than Joe the Vampire, don’t ask me why) in what’s essentially a two-hander of an episode, taking Laszlo out on his first real, episode-length solo adventure as he flees an immortal debt he owes for a stay in Jim’s guest room back in 1853. And Hamill is absolutely hilarious in the role, putting the voice acting skills he utilized in the second most iconic role of his career to use along with a wig, mustache, and some contacts...okay, fine, it probably is just me being halfway face blind.
Mark Hamill Is the World’s Biggest What We Do in the Shadows Fan (Kathryn VanArendonk for Vulture, via MSN)
Hamill tells Vulture that he’s been a fan of Shadows (and the 2014 movie that inspired it), so he was excited and a little nervous about the role. The show’s creators had no such reservations. Stefani Robinson, an executive producer who also wrote this episode, explained that Hamill was perfect for the role. “After writing The Vampire,” she told Vulture, “it became immediately clear that we needed an actor who could play both the comedy and the heavy, theatrical drama of the character. Mark Hamill immediately came to mind. He is a master at what he does, and has done for his entire career. It was an honor just to have him read the script.”

Hamill spoke to us shortly before “On the Run” aired, and he was especially happy to talk about why he’s such a huge fan of this goofy, great vampire comedy. “I thought I’d be playing a meter reader, or a next door neighbor, or someone at the Department of Motor Vehicles,” he said. “When I found out that they wanted to play The Vampire, I just flipped out.”
Episode soundtrack from Tunefind.
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mark Hamill! That's Mark Hamill! Video not related to this episode, but that's my reaction.

Also, I love this gamer's joy.

I didn't get a lot of his Joker out of Jim the Vampire, but I loved him as Laszlo's long-time (forgotten) nemesis. And Jackie Daytona's use of a modern, aquatic Mechanical Turk as payment for his old debt. And so much in this episode.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:29 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I didn't know about the cameo ahead of time, and spent half the episode knowing I recognized the actor as someone famous I should recognize but unable to place him. (I was thinking Benicio del Toro at first, then finally gave up and paused to see the imdb entry for the episode to find out who it actually was. It wasn't until the final volleyball court scene that he looked recognizably Mark Hamill-ish to me.)
posted by oh yeah! at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I know some people were saying that Laszlo is fun in small doses but a Laszlo-centric episode would be too much. Luckily, Laszlo was barely in this one, with most of the focus being on Jackie Daytona, a regular human guy.

I didn't really place him as anyone famous while watching, but as soon as I saw it was Mark Hamill I just thought, "Oh, duh." I also wonder how much money Laszlo actually owes for one month's rent on a guest room in the 1850s. I also wonder if Laszlo never learned the truth about the Mechanical Turk, or if he thinks there's actually a tiny person inside the Big Mouth Billy Bass.

You were so busy thinking of Mark Hamill as a celebrity, you forgot he's also a talented (voice) actor.

Hmm... actually... *loads up a picture of Laszlo and a picture of a toothpick in photoshop, and copies one onto the other* OH MY GOD
posted by ckape at 6:34 PM on May 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

posted by ishmael at 8:17 PM on May 15, 2020 [10 favorites]

I was a little iffy on this one, because while it was funny I felt like the characters were a bit off. Like, yeah, the vampires have been established as a weird mix of evil and endearing, they have their own twisted morality, but even so they did some stuff in this that didn't ring true to me. Laszlo has always seemed utterly devoted to Nadja, and I couldn't quite buy him ditching her and the other vamps to avoid a debt. Laszlo and Nadja have been pretty lovey-dovey this season, compared to last, but even so it was hard for me to buy that she would just be thrilled and horny when he came back instead of pissed-off. She's given him shit for a lot less. I also had some problems accepting that Jim the vampire wouldn't recognize Laszlo because he had a toothpick in his mouth. All of that stuff was kind of funny but it felt like it came from a show with a more cartoon-y, less grounded tone, as if The Simpsons' writers had taken over for an episode or something. I kept waiting for the twist where Jim revealed that of course he actually recognized Laszlo, or where Laszlo would miss Nadja too much to bear being away from her, stuff that would make it seem more like the show we've come to know. It certainly wasn't terrible, but it also didn't exactly feel like it was canon.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:10 PM on May 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed the episode, and love the show, but had basically the exact same issues as Ursula
posted by flaterik at 5:06 PM on May 16, 2020

This was great! As I was watching, I expected that Jim The Vampire was going to adopt a similarly poor disguise and both he and Laszlo were going to be invisible to each other, bumbling around town. No big beefs with how the plot actually went, but I’d still like to see my version too.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:07 PM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Upon further reflection, if I were a vampire and someone was walking around with a tiny wooden stake in their mouth it might be enough to distract me from examining the rest of their face.
posted by ckape at 10:14 PM on May 16, 2020 [8 favorites]

Perhaps reflection is the wrong word
posted by ckape at 10:17 PM on May 16, 2020 [16 favorites]

I didn't mind the flippant nature of the video, every show has it's weird one-offs that are set slighty next to their universe, and Jackie Daytona Regular Human Guy was funny enough
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:24 AM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

"People being fooled by the absolute stupidest of disguises" is one of my favorite comedy tropes. And I always love it when actors are visibly having the time of their lives (which is also why I love late-career Kurt Russell), so Mark Hamill was a real treat here.
posted by MrBadExample at 2:44 PM on May 17, 2020 [8 favorites]

I give the Nadja/Laszlo thing a pass because I strongly believe even passionate vampire lovers must have SOME time off from eternal marriage? Maybe he pulls those dungarees out of hiding for some kind of madcap weekend adventure every 20 years...

I noticed Mark Hamill pretty quickly, but only because he was tweeting about What We Do In The Shadows earlier this week. I was definitely expecting the joke to be that Laszlo owed about $12! But it's kind of great that they didn't bother to go there; one nice thing about this season is that I haven't been able to predict most of the punchlines.

LOVED Colin admitting that the rejected kiss was one of the best awkward, terrible energies to feed on.
posted by grandiloquiet at 3:01 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

If you're going to call out inconsistencies and narrative leaps, there's the fact that in the intro, the "traditional" vampires change their looks with the times, to a degree, but now they're back to their historic looks. The exception is the energy vampire, Collin Robinson, who has always worn Drab Dude Office Attire.

Perhaps the Council of Vampires sets the Global Vampire Dress Code, and updates it from time to time? After all, Jim the Vampire also wears what I'd consider "traditional" vampire attire, and is duped by the dungarees and tiny wooden spike that Jackie sports.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was entertained by the different setting, with the 80's "let's throw a show to save the orphanage go to regionals!"

I estimated the debt as around $1.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:55 PM on May 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, so middle aged dudes into highschool girls' volleyball.

I'm enjoying the theme that all of the cast (so far) are/ can be baddass but they keep each other back, at least to some extent.

Nadja being horned up, I ascribed to Lazlo bringing in a bit of mojo/ romance/ novelty to the relationship and "roleplaying" is a new thing to Nadja and she's enamoured of the novelty. Lazlo also settled the thing between Nadja and Nandor last ep pretty damned satisfactorily (for Nadja) so there's that.

I'm still stricken by how great the portraits are in the opening credits at capturing the characters/ actors in different styles.
posted by porpoise at 8:51 PM on June 7, 2020

I'm still stricken by how great the portraits are in the opening credits at capturing the characters/ actors in different styles.

Coming to this show waaay late, but I too marvel at all the artwork in this show. Do the actors have an option to get copies of these pieces that use their likenesses.
posted by cheshyre at 3:05 PM on July 25, 2021

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