Friday, August 13, 2010

FRINGE: Love in the Time of Swine Flu

A title like Love in the Time of Swine Flu promises a series of themed, tightened skits. Instead, while the show has some recurring moments (an unfortunate series of parlor games a fiancee plays with his soon-to-be-parents-in-law), the ensemble Stupid Time Machine keeps it way too loose: it's obvious they've just thrown everything at the wall. On the plus side, one-note stuff (like new airport security measures that inevitably resemble grinding at a rave) remains mercifully brief; on the negative side, just as the show gets rolling (a vampire has performance anxiety and has to teethsturbate as his victim talks dirty about her veins), it cuts to something else. Jokes about making a Berenstain Bears porn (this may have beat them to the punch) repeat themselves too often to be funny. Even well-acted skits--like one in which Obama tries to explain clean energy to his hapless Senate--run into the ground, from highs (the Texan wants to know how much oil it'll take to run a windmill) to lows (the deficit is a six-eyed monster lurking beneath the sea). The highlight of the show comes from a series of mash-up movie trailers which include things like The Hangover-meets-1776, a romantic comedy set at the start of World War I (starring Matthew McConaughey as Archduke Franz Ferdinand), and a wonderfully offensive mumblecore version of The Diary of Anne Frank. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "Do not resuscitate" and 5 being "Infectiously good," Love in the Time of Swine Flu gets a 2.5.

1 comment:

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