"Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii" (AdultSwim.com/You Tube). Tim Heidecker is the star and creator of this perfectly imperfect Web series, now in its second season, in which he plays Tim Heidecker, the star and creator of a vanity production called "Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii" in which he plays a secret agent named Jack Decker. The first Tim is the one you know, or should, from "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" and "Tom Goes to the Mayor"; the second, the one that he has created superficially in his image, is a flag-waving, idealistic dimwit who has set out on a shoestring budget and with little talent to make his own version of "24." (This is all subtext; all you see is the finished the product.) The terrible dialogue is awkwardly delivered, the desktop special effects are cheap and clumsy and the camerawork inelegant. In the first series, "Decker: Classified," still online if you want to catch up -- it'll take you less time to watch than to make and eat a grilled cheese sandwich -- we meet Jack Decker and the thorn in his side, the president of the United States (Joe Estevez). "Why should I trust you?" Decker asks. "You're the worst president we've ever had." Much of it is shot, authentic to the subtext, in Griffith Park, the backdrop for countless student films lost to time. (It stands for both Afghanistan and Central Park.) There is also a novelization of the series -- an astonishing thought -- available here.
The new season, now ongoing and set in "Hawaii," ups the ante a little. (There's a helicopter shot in the credits.) Decker, worn from years of saving the country "just so they can tax and spend on entitlements that people don't even deserve," has come to the islands to "have fun and party and see old friends ... and sample some of the local cuisine and I'm not talking about food either." The first few episodes take place mostly in a tiki bar, and Tim's devolving performance (that is, the Tim, played by Tim, who's playing Decker) suggests that he might have been drinking the whole time. Unfortunately for Decker, the president has also come to Hawaii, to address the National Assn. of Special Interests; the Taliban takes over the island, kidnaps the president and states its aim to conquer the whole United States. "It's like Pearl Harbor, point, 2.0," Decker manages to say, "all over again." To be continued.
That it's a straight-up soap opera makes it no less a cause for celebration, and certainly no less fun. There are times when the story, by virtue of the writers' desire to keep things moving, makes less sense than it might, and it is not what anyone with even a little bit of knowledge of that world would mistake for a documentary on the music business. But it has life to spare; old-fashioned musical exuberance (dressed in modern weeds, but pure MGM in its way); and a host of great performances, from less featured but crucially grounding work by