Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FRINGE: Faster than the Speed of White

Captain Northstar (Pushkar Sharma) and Ensign Southstar (Sathya Sridharan) are aboard the Brownstar Galactica, seeking out the Alcove of Answers, where they hope to at last answer this burning question: "Why did Shaq make Shaq-Fu?" [Insert the sound of a record screeching to a halt.] That's not really what Faster than the Speed of White is about, and yet that line is in there, holding Brownstar back from their quest to find a place for the South Asian American actor. Their only role model, seen in flashbacks, is Kal Penn Mohdi, who is either a "trailblazer" or "subcontinental degradation." These two spoken-word artists--and their bassist Chuck Aka The 3rd Dimension (Charles Kim)--are also stuck between two poles, either "imaginative" or "derivative." Sridharan, a loose physical comedian (he'd be great on Saturday Night Live), works better with the esoterically nerdy stuff than Sharma, who is stuck being the straight man (though he's funny as Van Wilder's Taj Mahal Badlandabad), but at least both are boldly going where few have gone before. If director Nick Choksi can cut down on all the dead space, and the two can tighten their search for identity around a more specific medium (e.g., Star Trek as opposed to all sci-fi), they'll have a much more arresting show. (Consider The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, which used wrestling to make a broader point about ethnic identity.) They need a sleeker ship for killer lines like these : "Space Indians might not need accents, you ever think about that?" On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "This should have gone down with Alderaan" and 5 being "More astonishing than the X-Men," Faster than the Speed of White gets a 3.5.

No comments: