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My Damn Channel’s “Eric Schaeffer: Life Coach” blurs the lines between fiction and reality by casting the writer and director, Eric Schaeffer, as himself. It also features themes that he’s dealt with for the majority of his career. In fairness, body image issues as previously addressed in FX’s “Starved” aren’t emphasized as heavily. Though Schaeffer’s self-deprecating tone and the topic of dating come back with full brute force, despite showing up in most of his work, including most recently Showtime’s pseudo-documentary “I Can’t Believe I’m Single,” based on his book of the same name.
Episodes are released simultaneously on YouTube and My Damn Channel on Mondays, tend not to be longer than five minutes, and have a format inherently familiar to fans of shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld,” or characters with the neuroses of Woody Allen. Even the overarching premise has the feel of a script from “The Office”: Schaeffer has determined to turn his stunted show business career around by becoming a life coach. He shows himself to be a master of terrible advice: ending a date by suggesting to his date that she see someone else as well, gambling recommendations to a gambling addict, and so on.
Since the show was originally filmed as a seven-episode 30-minute television season and the pilot was broken into a single season (as well as the other six episodes) on My Damn Channel, there’s not always a sense of closure. The show’s currently in its second season and that lack of closure still prevails. Scenes and larger story lines are nearly always left incomplete, even if there’s at least a minor resolution (and at least one landed joke).
But that weakness is also its greatest strength. Since there’s always something left hanging, the incentive to watch the next quick episode is huge. It’s also paired with a video blog, “The Real Real Man,” for additional insight and some minor jokes, but stick with the main show for the most amount of Larry David-style cringing and laughing.