Home » The Temp Audio Drama: Seven Years of Comedy Odd Jobs

The Temp Audio Drama: Seven Years of Comedy Odd Jobs

The audio drama series, “The Temp” has been running since 2019. Each episode follows the career of Bernie Pfelger as a temporary hire for all various odd jobs in the world. The creator, Michael Wilhelm also voices the character with the same temperament as someone from a 60s television show.

An Amalgamation of Characters and Jobs

Perhaps the second most interesting aspect about this show comes from the sheer number of years this show has been around and arguably no one has been talking about it. For a show with a format like this to last seven years as of this writing is something miraculous. Especially when you consider the show’s premise. Having a show where each episode is a new job takes dedication.

In first place for the most interesting part of “The Temp” audio drama is the character of Bernie. His impersonations are on point and has class clown written all over his backstory. The voices are easily recognizable and it’s amazing a show like this didn’t exist before 2010.

The Temp Audio Drama was Recorded in Front of a Live Studio Audience

For this review I chose to take one episode per year. The release of episodes from 2018-2023 ranged from two to four episodes. 2024 currently has only one at the time of this writing. The episodes, in order of appearance, are: “Voices” (2018), “Detour” (2019), “Flexibility (2020) “Tardy” (2021), “Meme, Myself and I” (2022) and “Class Trip” (2023).

All episodes — at least the one’s I’ve listened to — are recorded in Indiana in front of a live audience. Some of the episodes, however, you wouldn’t think the creative team performed in front of people at all. Based on the lack of reverb alone. When first listening to the episode “Detour,” the jump from the amount of acoustic echo in the mix was very noticeable.

From Pilot to Most Recent

After listening to the pilot episode (“The Voice”) of the audio drama, my podcast app decided to play the most recent episode afterward. Following the obvious “Romeo and Juliet” parody and my least favorite episode of the one’s I’ve listened to, I jumped to an episode that grabbed my attention. “Meme, Myself and I” was that story. The plot is simple, as are most of the episodes. Bernie becomes an accidental social media star and the opportunities and hijinks you expect with the territory happen. The good and the bad. It’s all rather anticipated if you grew up on the internet and one of the funnier fish out of water stories I’ve listened to in a while.

Of the episodes I heard between the pilot and “Sweet Sorrow,” “Class Trip” was the funniest in an absurdist way. “Tardy” and “Detour had a similar premise with a “yes, but…”; “no, and” plot progression. The starting points differed, but the destination or quest plot archetype was the same for both episodes. You would think the episodes would get boring after a while. There is a gag at the beginning of episodes where the narrator tells the audience something Bernie says out loud. After a while, it became too noticeable and took me out of the story. Strangely enough, the show gets better as it continues. I’m hoping it didn’t peak last year as the first episode of 2024, while having its moments, felt a bit uninspired.

In the same way a sitcom might do better as a binge watch after the show’s ending, “The Temp” is also best suited for listening in one sitting. The episodes are roughly 30 minutes in length so it’s not a big time commitment. It doesn’t require the same attention a serialized drama might warrant, but for an audio drama about temporary employment, the podcast has a surprisingly lasting power.

8.5/10+ Stars