The greatest odd couples are the most unlikely ones, and the newest one currently circulating the YouTubes definitely wins some points for oddness. Our introduction to Duffy and the Crab is as follows: Patrick Duffy, 80s icon and star of the long ago-canceled Dallas and Step By Step, encounters his friend Crab going though Facebook. And a delightfully deadpan little interaction over the complexities of online relationships reveals that a felt puppet is more tech-savvy than a man more than 60 years of age.
Released a week ago, Duffy and the Crab‘s Facebook adventure is only the first in an upcoming series of dry little shorts featuring Duffy and his crab companion (voiced by David Leisure, best known as Joe Isuzu) reacting to the world around them, according to creators Conor Duffy and Emily Cutler. Duffy and Cutler didn’t have to look hard to secure their stars. Crab was a theater prop the married couple was storing in their garage, and Patrick Duffy is
ColinConor’s father (and thus Emily’s father-in-law). “We had Patrick Duffy, and we had a giant orange crab, and we knew that we must absolutely bring these two together,” Cutler said via phone.
They took that simple inspiration one step further, though, by creating an elaborate backstory revolving around Patrick and Crab, dating the beginning of their friendship to their old dinner theater days. Crab’s crabby persona, it turns out, is born of the frustration born of watching your partner achieve the success that was just always out of your reach. “They have kind of a frenemy friendship,” according to Cutler.
While Patrick Duffy’s comedic timing is a large part of what makes this first short work, his confusion over technology is in many respects genuine. “He’s learning, as many older people are, just what their computer can do and just what the online marketplace involves, Duffy said. “It’s pretty incredible, and they can’t seem to always wrap their minds around it.”
“Let’s just say that doing this video online actually introduced Patrick to Facebook,” Conor Duffy added.
There’s no release date set for the next installment of Duffy and the Crab, though there are currently five episodes in the can, but Cutler, who’s written for sitcoms like Entourage and Carpoolers, is already thinking ahead to potential monetization possibilities. “We could see Duffy and the Crab doing interstitials on a show or selling Starburst,” she said. “They can host together; they could be a little TV show; they could do kind of an Adult Swim sort of thing. It could really be anything.”
More than one minute will be necessary to judge that, but in this duo’s first outing there’s real talent on display. And Patrick Duffy’s not bad, either.