'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages' Episode 1 has Al and Prince Chauncley resist parental expectations

Based on the first episode of Season 2, it seems Simon Rich hasn't lost his touch. The humor is just the right kind of 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' take on the Dark Ages that warmly draws the audience into the jokes


                            'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages' Episode 1 has Al and Prince Chauncley resist parental expectations
Steve Buscemi (TBS)

The gang is back for a second season of the anthology series' Miracle Workers' -- only now they are in the Dark Ages and in completely different avatars. The one to fall the farthest is Steve Buscemi, who played God in Season 1. In Season 2, he is "Eddie Shitshoveler", who -- you guessed it -- shovels shit for a living. His motto (and also the Shitshoveler family motto) is "Anytime. Anywhere. Even if it is big." 

Since this is creator/executive producer Simon Rich's conception of a medieval town, the populace might speak in modern slang and historical inaccuracies are rampant (usually to add to the humor), but the widespread ignorance and class hierarchies are on point. 

The only entertainment available to the town's populace is the frequent beheadings in the public square. So much so, that Eddie's daughter Alexandra aka "Al" (Geraldine Viswanathan) and her friend have made a drinking game out of it. Similarly, Alexander's brother is bullied by the town's bad boys because they believe his third nipple is where the "Devil takes his suck". And everyone, including Al's father, Eddie, and her peers, expects her to join the family business. 

After all, Al's peers, whose future as adults awaits, have already decided what to do.  Ted Carpenter is going to be a carpenter, Mary Baker is going into baking and Wesley Pervert is doing, you know, "stuff". But Al, despite her surname and her "heritage" of generations of shit shovelers behind her, wants something more. As she tells Mary, she could get into science or law or travel. To this end, she joins a school to further her education.

But her first day is also "Graduation Day" because apparently there are only three things that are known and that can be learned in the Dark Ages "The Earth is flat, the Devil is real and the sun is crazy." After her expensive but useless education, she has to reluctantly join the family business. To mark the occasion, Eddie gifts her a shovel with a very short handle, which doubles as a gravestone for when she dies, hopefully, shoveling shit proudly like her ancestors before her. 

Meanwhile, the tyrant and veteran of many victorious, "King Cragnoor the Heartless" (Peter Serafinowicz), rules over the town with an iron fist as he wages a war against the Valdrogians whose "currency is blood" and whose favorite music is "human screams". His son, Prince Chauncley ( Daniel Radcliffe), a duck-loving geek is his biggest shame. When the "Amazing Duck Show" fails to engage Daddy Dearest's attention, Prince Chauncley decides to join the battle against the Valdrogians. 

On route, the soldiers tell him fear-inducing stories about the enemy, including the new-fangled weapon they use called "guns". This is exactly the time when an argument between Eddie and Al about lengthening the handle of the shit shovel, results in a runaway shit cart. The prince, seeing his chance, sets up the slowest crash in TV history to escape going to the battle's frontlines. Wanting to preserve his life and yet not disappoint his father again, the prince puts the blame on the shit cart's owner. Eddie takes the blame and is instantly scheduled for execution. 

But at the execution, Al's words remind the townsfolk how Eddie has always been there for them. When Prince Chauncley tells her that even if the crowd is ok with it, he can't let Eddie go because his father expects him to be a tyrant, it is like Al has found a kindred spirit. She tells him it is ok to try to be something other than what their parents want them to be. Her plea to the prince secures Eddie's release and King Cragnoor departs in a disappointed huff. 

Later, Al also gets Eddie to try the longer handle on the shit shovel and all is well that ends well, for now. 

Based on the first episode of Season 2, it seems Simon Rich hasn't lost his touch. The humor is just the right kind of 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' take on the Dark Ages that warmly draws the audience into the jokes. There is plenty to giggle about and round 2 is off to a good start.

'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages' airs Tuesdays on TBS at 10:30/9:30c.

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