Getting Away With Murder

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Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be hit men. Especially nebbish hit men like Seth Silver, who at 25 still lives at home, takes his mom contra dancing once a week and always answers her calls, even if he's in the middle of a quadruple homicide. Mom, in this case, is Rhonda "Ronnie" Silver, a Jewish television chef who thinks Seth is a veterinarian. The only person who knows the truth about Seth's true vocation: His womanizing friend with a shoe fetish, Rex.

Such are the Oedipal underpinnings of "Getting Away With Murder," IFC's new Web comedy series that debuted Sunday. The series is at once hilarious, depraved and gory. Happy Mother's Day!

And hello Peter Pan. "Murder" marks yet another take, albeit a brilliantly funny one, on the man-child character with a Peter Pan complex (thank you Wes Anderson). Once a charming expression of boyhood imagination, Peter Pan has become shorthand for social retardation and sexual dysfunction (thank you Michael Jackson). Thus Seth, no good with the ladies -- "I hate girls," reads his latest blog entry -- becomes disturbingly good with guns. And garrotes. And C4. He's found the fountain of eternal youth, but the spicket's spurting blood.

Speaking of: We meet Seth for the first time at the Ponce de Leon Hotel and Spa. Disguised as Randy the bellhop, Seth sneaks into his victim's suite and uses a silencer to dispatch two burly guards, who writhe comically as blood spatters the camera lens. Next up is a half-naked girl in the bedroom, whom Seth drugs with a syringe. Then he pokes at her boob like it's a science experiment. The coup de grace: Drowning an old man in the bathtub. And then his cell phone rings.

"Ma, I told you never to call me at work!" But Ronnie hasn't found him out. She only wants him to pick up some asparagus on his way home.

And so it goes throughout the 13-episode season, with Seth casually greasing old men and avoiding his mom's preening while trying to set a date with a bookstore clerk. On his trail: An FBI investigator and another emotionally vestigial hit man named Pinkie, a sadistic torturer who plays "Hostel" to Seth's "Grosse Pointe Blank." Playing sidekick to the anti-hero is the boy wonder Rex, a foul-mouthed cad who works at a mall store called Pretty in Pumps. Beside this lech, Seth comes across as the good guy.

And isn't that a neat trick. In a hyperviolent world beset by real-life school shootings and daily reports of international violence, a cold-blooded hitman becomes a sympathetic character. Strangely endearing, this is a killer who loves his mamma.

"Murder" is IFC's first Web-only series, with new shows debuting every Monday through Aug. 6. The show is written by Andrew Schwartz and written and directed by Bennett Barbakow.
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