By Melissa Wun.
The best thing that could be said for this month's Prime Time lineup is that Computerman no longer casts its anti-yet-super-gay shadow from the #1 position. It's at the bottom of the tripe pile where it belongs, and is, in this critic's opinion, a guaranteed cancellation at September's screening. Ding dong, the witch is dead.
The worst thing that could be said? Well, let's make a list, and let's call that list my column for this month.
Item number one: The Fastest Samurai in the West. The woman-hating is worthy of Peckinpah and the racism is worthy of a World War II poster from either side. Sammy Primero, creator and male lead, accentuates his slightly almond eyes with mascara to make himself look as Asian as possible, then capitalizes on his all-white audience's love of Uncle Tomfoolery by shuffling around the Old West, babbling in a high-pitched, unintelligible accent. The lead character, whose name can't even be reprinted here without making my ancestors disown me, encounters a "Negro Indian" at the pilot's ending, promising even more ethnic exploration next month. I can't wait. Oh, wait, I don't have to. I can read a book of Hustler cartoons.
Speaking of Nazi Germany, that's where Dr. Bloom materialized in this episode of Time Belt. It sounds like an interesting idea. Then you realize that in a mind like Chris Tallman's, which is filled to the brim with worthless pop culture, there is no room for even a single high school history lesson. Apparently, Anne Frank was, at one point, held hostage by Adolph Hitler, who, in addition to having Ricardo Montalban's accent, shoots green lasers from his eyes and has "a black belt in fencing." Leave it to Chris Tallman to drop us into the most dramatic and compelling point in 20th century history, only to subvert it entirely with his childish desire to sword fight in a room full of sexy women. I knew Time Belt was probably lost forever the moment I saw Anne Frank use her diary to slash a Nazi femme's throat.
Then there's Kicked in the Nuts. What can I say about this show that isn't made agonizingly clear by the title. It's a candid camera show starring an afro-wigged stranger in coveralls who runs around Los Angeles kicking men (and boys) in the groin. What are they going to do in the second episode? Add a dog?
Rob Schrab is emerging as quite a cockroach. Ringwald and Molly, his masturbatory cardboard ego trip, keeps right on shoveling, and the audience keeps right on slurping it up. In this episode, the ...things... go fishing. Then they get blown up. Then they're imprisoned by a pirate. Then they're shot out of a torpedo tube. The end. As usual, it all looks very good, and as usual, who cares? Whatever happened to art being a tool for social change? When did creativity become another way to kill time and get attention? When I die, if I go to Hell, it's going to be black and white, and I'm going to be surrounded by long winded puppets.
But if I go to Heaven, there will be no such thing as Computerman, and I'm very excited to report that September's screening may herald Heaven on Earth. From the beginning, series creator Dan Harmon has been trying to figure out exactly how lazy he's allowed to be, first by coasting on Jack Black's name, then by riding the momentum of the pilot through a confusing, lackluster second episode. In August, he finally went too far, even for his lobotomized fans. The script for Computerman #3 was awful. The directing and acting managed to be at once pretentious and pathetic. Lines are flubbed. People are farting. The cameraman is laughing. Green screens are collapsing. And, in the biggest "screw you" to an audience in recorded history, Harmon kept it all in his final edit, which was equally unprofessional on its own- the sound is poorly mixed, the story is unclear, and I couldn't be happier about it.
Goodbye, Computerman. I know you'll just be replaced by something more awful, but I don't care. I just want you out of my life.
See you at the next screening!
Melissa Wun is a TV critic and associate professor of cinematic studies at UCLA. She doesn't know how to spell "Adolf".