Today we’re reviewing something a little different from we normally do on the site. Thundershorts is a new site that launched this week with a dedicated YouTube channel. The premise is spelled out in the name, short episodes. This is a comedy channel so don’t expect short form mysteries or anything like that. There’s a variety of cast members and reoccurring characters/settings. I’m going to take a look at three of their shorts today while Brian Roe will be looking at their other three premiere episodes.
Teacher’s Lounge – Episode 1
As the name of the bit implies this story takes place in the teacher’s lounge of a school. The overall idea is that the teacher’s aren’t following any rules while they’re here in their sanctuary from the children. The bit opens with a gag about a dead secretary and one of the teachers unsure of who has passed away until a series of questions are answered. Strangely enough we’re not given their names, but when Jim Gaffigan arrives he receives a frame introducing his character. The same happens later when the Dean of Discipline arrives, but our two beginning teachers remain unknown.
The overall joke is that Gaffigan’s character has made a wine on school grounds and called it “Whites Only” and what follows are series of jokes about white’s being better and one of the teachers being confused as to what the topic is actually about: people or wine. It’s clever for a while, but then of course the script is flipped on the straight-man and he’s pegged for a racists by the black Dean of Discipline.
The acting is rough. No one other than Gaffigan seems comfortable in the scene or really with acting. The Dean in particular hugs Gaffigan or just makes it a point to touch him a lot as if he didn’t know how to stand or what to do with his hands. Depending on your cup of tea the racist jokes or really the white supremacist jokes are pretty funny and really the only shining moment of the short even if they do go on for too long.
Don’t Walk: Fear the Crosswalk – Episode 1
This episode started to reveal a pattern to me with all of the Thundershorts, that there would be one joke per episode that was a hit with me and the rest would fall flat. We meet a man talking to pigeons about his first day at a new job. Suddenly he receives a message from his new boss telling him not to be late and so he heads to work. The joke that hit came from a random character handing out flyers who mispronounces a word and then under his breath and standing a foot away corrects himself as if he were really bummed by his flub. Nothing else is done with this character, but it made me laugh.
The rest of the bit is people jay walking through a crosswalk while our main character waits and attempts to stop them. I did smirk when an old lady with a walker told the man she had places to be and rolled out into the crosswalk, but only because she look pissed off. The punchline of the episode wasn’t funny and killed the momentum of the setup. There’s not a lot to say about the acting in this one, the main character is the naïve half-wit type and for the most part he plays that role.
Timeless Season: Shea Butter
The premise of Timeless Seasons showed the most potential in my opinion. The setup is that it’s a home shopping network style of show, but it’s based in the 80s (or at least dressed that way) and on local cable access. Our three hosts are all dressed straight out of a 80s film and it works as each rocks a different style. They’re guest is local teen dance champion, though the word “retired” should be added in as a balding and sleazy looking man arrives. The bit runs too long, but the intentionally bad editing saves it. At the end there’s a very long segment of all four characters rubbing the lotion onto each other’s hands. This goes on for a long time and is actually funnier because it doesn’t end and the body language of the actors shows how uncomfortable the scene was for them.
The acting was by far the best. The special guest is spot on and helps to create the strange vibe of the bit. Each of the hosts did a wonderful job as each actor embraces a female stereotype from the 80s and runs with it. In particular I thought the host on the left did a great job of selling the jokes and the story.
Overall the acting was the roughest part of all the shorts. There seems to be a degree of improve to the shorts which is fine, but with all improve the key is knowing when to stop and let the joke move on. They’re still working on that part here.
Well there you have it. Give the shorts a view yourself as we’ve included them below each review as available. There’s more to watch on Thundershorts.com or on their Youtube channel. Don’t forget to stop back for Brian’s reviews as he takes a look at: American Viral, Gabe & Max Need Help and Augie Alone.