To appreciate the book, we should appreciate the web series on which it’s based. To appreciate the series, we should appreciate the man responsible for it: Tim Heidecker. A cult figure, Heidecker is known as one half of the comedy duo, Tim and Eric, who are responsible for some of the strangest comedy programs of the new century.
Leaping onto the screen with an animated series on Adult Swim, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric hinted at a comedy style far from typical fare. They peppered their show with absurdity while maintaining a stylized tone—equal parts farce, broad comedy, and understated, at times almost atonal, humor. It was such a singular and unique show that it’s not possible to find an analogue. Something like a sketch comedy show for the digital age, it was like something out out a Jodorowsky film, a surreal romp through the minds of men unafraid to approach comedy as conceptual nonsense.
Decker, a parody of ultra militaristic, American entertainment—think: 24, Homeland, and American Sniper—couched in right wing ideology. Decker is a former Green Beret who frequently kicks ass and saves America from enemies such as the Taliban. Or Dracula. Embracing the low-budget ethos of early 80s action films, the series revels in its low budget, including a deceptively brilliant performance by Heidecker, who performs in a clipped monotone and frequently flubs his dialogue.
On its surface, the show is a hyper masculine, right wing, pro-American action-adventure. Its stylized cheese wrapped in awful effects and performance, and it hammers home the no-nonsense American values of Decker, an exemplar for two-dimensional, cliche right wingers found in all corners of this country.
Like the series on which it’s based, Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii the novel basks in American bravado. Based on the second season of Decker, the novel races to its conclusion. It’s fast paced, silly, and as stylized as the show on which it’s based. Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the show—or Heidecker’s style and humor—you might dismiss it as a poorly written throwaway.
But the style in which it’s written is deceptive, and this is where author Jamie Grefe deserves credit. He imbues the novelization with a voice as hardcore—and right wing—as the show. Every paragraph contains hyperbole and language suited for a fifteen year old boy describing an adventure to a buddy, which is part of the appeal.
And the terrorists lead Decker into a gigantic storage unit located at the base of the undisclosed cave location. Is he worried? You bet your shitty ass he is, but he’s been around the proverbial block and back enough times unscathed that his mind rushes through how he’s going to get out of this goddamn situation. Some vacation, he thinks.
But it’s not over yet.
Decker shivers, clears the muck out of his throat, and mutters the Constitution under his breath. It helps. And he curls his toes.
That’s when the plan comes to him.
It’s hard to review this book. On the surface, it’s a poorly plotted adventure tale filled with exposition, awkward dialogue, and as subtle as a Fox News segment. Divorced from the series on which it’s based, most readers would dismiss it as tripe. But viewed as a companion to Heidecker’s antics, the novelization stands as a funny—funnier than the series, even—compliment, which is a testament to Grefe’s ability to add new dimensions thanks to his stylized voice.