Break a Leg Review - Ep. 4 & 5

Hello all and welcome to the day where your host (Mr. Nick Taylor -- in case you forgot) actually remembers to do something.

Well, more like I'd feel really guilty if I "forgot". At any rate, I just finished watching both the new episodes of BaL for the fourth time, and I think I'm ready to tear it apart. With scissors. Well, maybe not with scissors. Critically, though. I'll tear it apart critically. With my great grammar. (Because, y'know, all sentences need to have just two adverbs to count -- remember that, kiddies)

In all seriousness, however, I have thought long and hard about these two episodes, and to be honest, I kinda liked them. I didn't really like them, but I kinda liked them. Although, my thoughts may be swayed by Monday with the release of episode six. We'll see, and I'll post a review on that, too.

In the meantime, time to dissect the wonderfulness that is Break a Leg. Luckily with these two new episodes, we haven't had to wait excruciatingly long for them. Unlike episodes 1, 2 & 3, we've had massive amounts of content thrown our way by the gracious Break a Leg crew, and for that, I am grateful. As you (most likely) know, there have been conversation episodes so we don't feel lonely and without our internet sitcom Friends. I mean Groomates. I mean Break a Leggers.

At any rate, these conversations have been highly effective in delivering characterization, but not much else beyond that. What we need now is story. Let's move on. What happened after the U-Haul explosion at the end of Episode 3?

Well, that's (sort of) where Episode 4 picks up. The cold open for Episode 4 is a brief little show called ¿K?. As you can no doubt guess, it is a parody of the show E! in real life. If you did not guess that, well I apologize for taking the joke away from you. (I won't tell you the second joke. Although all the Spanish-speaking people are probably laughing their asses off by now. Well, maybe not.)

So during the ¿K? sequence the Break a Leg crew successfully recap us in a tightly edited, seizure-inducing way. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it a successful parody of E!? Hell, yeah.

Also during the ¿K? sequence there is another short Broomates claymation clip. If you don't know, Broomates is the rival show to Groomates on the network Pox. Remember those spies from Episode 3? They like to cause trouble for David Penn and his fledgling crew of soon to be Groomates.

So, after the ¿K? sequence (I love typing Alt-0191 over and over. If you're on a PC, go and do it. I'll wait. Wasn't that cool? I know.) we have our lovely title sequence, and then we switch over to...(drumroll please) Groomates! Seriously, we start a scene of Groomates. Then we shortly find out that they're in a school. Interesting.

The school scene with Jennifer directing and David being showrunner shows us some more of Jennifer's weird bohemian directing style. He's got the beret, the mustache, and the love of completely randomness to permeate his project. It's some more nice characterization, but it's also kind of two-dimensional. There's got to be more to Jennifer than bohemian stereotypes. I hope.

Of course, this is a very, very satirical show, and I may be looking too far into it. Now, however, comes my one really big issue with this episode (in case you forgot, I'm talking about episode 4 still). There's a really long sequence with David trying to get Chase Cougar to come back to the Groomates production. While there's some genuinely funny shtick, and it obviously shows that Justin Morrison can act his way out of a shoebox (no, I'm not being sarcastic, he's actually pretty good) it just felt too long. I really, really hope that's the last we see of that kind of shtick for a while, because they stretched it about as long as spandex can stretch. It was funny, now let's move on.

So Chase comes back, makes a classic Chase Cougar comment that still makes me laugh (especially the reaction to said comment) and that's pretty much the end of the episode.

So now what?

Well, if you're still reading, obviously I'm either a pretty damn good writer, or you're genuinely interested as to what happens in episode 5. Well, at this point, I've decided that I'm going to write a post a week for these suckers, because 4 seems pretty damn long thus far.

Anyway, Episode 5 opens with a scene that I personally didn't like too much. There was a classic line in there that was definitely funny, but the scene seemed to break the continuity that Episode 4 had started. It probably wasn't the best cold open in the world. We go from the school in Episode 4 to the exploded U-Haul at the beginning of Episode 5 back to the school during the rest of Episode 5.

This episode, I felt, didn't really have too much content. A lot of it was restating what had already happened, which kind of weighted the eight minute episode down a bit. Not in the good way, either. There was definitely some funny moments (a great Claudio-Humphrey moment) and an excellent Jimmy Scotch scene, but the episode itself...I don't know. I'm not a spy person, I guess.

The whole episode was about determining what to do with the spies and the guild war. I personally don't like the guild war too much. It's unfortunate, because it seems like a device that could definitely work, but us viewers don't quite understand it too well. Don't get me wrong, I still love the show, but I like the idea of David Penn trying to wrestle with a dysfunctional crew while trying to get his show up and running, rather than wrestle with some creepy spies that are stealing trade secrets. Well, stealing ideas. Which is legal, believe it or not. That's beside the point, though.

Before I conclude this rather lengthy post on Break a Leg, I just want to point out a few things. First- what the hell happened with the whole "Jimmy wants Chase fired" storyline? That just...ended...it seems like. Who knows, it may come back in the future, but it did strike me as odd.

In conclusion, I just have to say that I really do think the show is funny, but it feels like it has gone a little off track from where it started. Rather than have a bunch of dysfunctional artists trying to put a television show together on a shoestring budget, we now have network espionage stealing ideas and starting guild wars. I'm curious as to where the whole thing is going, but personally I'd say I just really like the dysfunctional artists trying to get money to start a sitcom bit more than the guild war bit.

But what do I know? I'm no professional critic.

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