Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Mr. Birchum’ On Daily Wire+, Where Adam Carolla Is A Junior High School Shop Teacher Fighting To Keep His World From Getting Too “Woke”

The conservative news and opinion site Daily Wire has a streaming service called Daily Wire+, which occasionally releases shows and movies (like Lady Ballers) targeted towards their perpetually aggrieved audience. Their latest project just happens to be an adult animated comedy series created and starring Adam Carolla.


Opening Shot: Teddy Roosevelt Junior High School. The sign says “A SAFE SPACE.”

The Gist: A car rolls into the parking lot, and Mr. Birchum (Adam Carolla), the shop teacher, gets out. He’s greeted by his work buddy Don Gage (Alonzo Bodden), the auto shop teacher. They make a bet which of the disdainful students are going to insult them first, and they don’t even get out of the parking lot before Birchum wins the bet.

They’re greeted in the parking lot by Elliot Karponzi (Tyler Fischer), a man bun-wearing new faculty member who says his pronouns are “Him, he and z” and is the new Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) officer. Birchum and Gage hate him already. But Karponzi also has his eyes on the two of them, given he’s heard about their “antiquated” teaching methods. The principal, Pam Bortles (Roseanne Barr), seems to be indifferent to Karponzi’s presence, mainly because he’s a district hire.

In his shop class, he explains his “donkey system” to the students; pretty much any student who does anything he doesn’t like gets called a “donkey” and is moved one step closer to having to sit on rough-hewed benches he made in a place he calls “The Corral.” The things he doesn’t like include a student not speaking English and the fact that a student is named after a pretentious car.

At home, it seems that the only people on Birchum’s side are his dog Sawbones and his daughter Jeanie (Brett Cooper), who has soaked up all of her father’s knowledge of woodworking. Birchum’s wife Wendi (Megyn Kelly), a Realtor, insists on feeding Sawbones vegan food, and his adult son Eddie (Kyle Dunnigan), sits in his room all day playing video games. Wendi enjoys being an “esports mom,” though; “It’s like being a soccer mom, but I get to stay in my pajamas.” Despite the fact that Eddie’s making money, Birchum still hates the fact that his kid isn’t building or making stuff.

Birchum’s class are all in The Corral by the first week, so he orders them to come help him work on his deck at home on a “Donkey Work Day” Saturday. Jeanie helps Wendi stage a house, but is horrified that her mom painted over a mahogany fireplace. Karponzi sees the kids working on Birchum’s deck and calls for a meeting of the dreaded disciplinary board.

Mr. Birchum
Photo: Daily Wire+

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Mr. Birchum is definitely in the spirit of other adult animated series like Family Guy, King Of The Hill, American Dad!, and others that have a stubborn man whose world around him is changing and he tries all he can do to keep it the way he wants it — and often failing.

Our Take: Carolla created Mr. Birchum along with Mike Lynch and Nate Adams, and given where it’s streaming you might think that the series is going to be one long screed against “wokeness”. It certainly starts that way, with the introduction of Karponzi, who is the personification of what the right thinks the “libs” all look and sound like. He’s loaded down with overt sight gags, like a helmet that says “The Force is Female” to a scooter license plate that has “LGBTQ” and a bunch of nonsense initials and symbols after it, and the jokes about his pronouns being “z” and how he identifies are pretty obvious conservative dog whistles.

But the less we see of Karponzi and the more we see of Birchum, his students, his friends and his family, the better the show is. Granted, it still needs a long way to go before it matches shows like Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers as far as character-driven humor — and even funny sight gags and cutaway jokes — are concerned. But in the second episode, we saw the potential for where this show can go if Carolla and company realize that Birchum’s fight against “wokeness” doesn’t have to be the main thrust of the show.

In the second episode, Birchum, Gage and their Navy buddies plan out a day of free food and drink around the greater Los Angeles area on Veterans Day, but have to figure out how to out-eat-and-booze Birchum’s archrival Gunderson (Rob Riggle) and all of his Army buddies. In the meantime, Wendi and Gage’s wife Deena (Sage Steele) go for a spa day and get into a fight when Wendi realizes that just because Deena is Black doesn’t mean she’s as liberal as she is.

Again, that episode wasn’t exactly a laugh riot, but it certainly showed what the show could be. Karponzi may be an annoyance to Birchum, but it was fun to see that the real challenge to his idea of himself as a “manly man” in the world is that half of his family isn’t on the same page as he is. In fact, the most surprising character is Wendi, and not just because Kelly’s voice acting skills are shockingly good. Yes, she’s definitely got some viewpoints that belie what a conservative’s view of liberalism is, but she’s not nearly the cliche that Karponzi is, and she’s also not going to change her views. Kelly’s performance as Wendi isn’t mocking in any way, which is something that quite frankly shocked us, given some of the stunt casting on this show.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: After getting off easy during the disciplinary hearing, thanks to the union he publicly decries, and after seeing the sexy young woman spending time with Eddie, Birchum retreats to his restored deck with Sawbones, pops open a beer, gives the new finish a feel and says, “Not bad donkeys; no bad at all.”

Sleeper Star: Besides the shockingly good performance by Megyn Kelly, Roseanne Barr actually does a decent job as the indifferent Principal Bortles.

Most Pilot-y Line: When Janine calls her mother a “wood killer” for painting over the mantel in the house she’s staging, Wendi says, “Technically, I’m a wood coverer… cover… coverer. OK, I see why you went with ‘killer.’”

Our Call: SKIP IT. Mr. Birchum has potential to be a decent adult animated series if it gets away from the cliched Karponzi character and Birchum’s fight against “wokeness”, whatever that is, and just concentrates on characters amongst his family and coworkers that are already well-developed. We just wish that part of the show was funnier.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon,,, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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