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The You Can't Do That on Television Fan Club Sketch Comedy Show! Episode 2: Politics!

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THE YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION FAN CLUB SKETCH COMEDY SHOW! EPISODE 2: POLITICS!, Low Sodium Entertainment, at Link's Hall. Lameness was part of the joke on the 80s TV show that inspired this production: strapped by a tiny budget and the G ratings of its Nickelodeon home, it winked overtime at its rudimentary, blandly scripted gags and sketches. Obligatory cartoonish vulgarity aside, Low Sodium has that half-assed deadpan approach down cold. But a knowing lameness never made the TV show very funny, and it doesn't do the job here either.

A big "fan" might disagree, as this show trades primarily on nostalgia, with a dash of workmanlike political humor about current events. The cast are adequate, the stars (Marc Lessman and Jacob Smith) reasonably good, and the scenario--Smith vies with incumbent Lessman in an election for host of part three--is clever if too cute. Director-writer Aaron Haber sometimes appears to know what he's doing, wringing laughs from ho-hum bits through judicious repetition, and the basic-cable feel is accurate. But things plateau at generalized likability, and after about ten minutes I started wondering, just as I did when watching You Can't Do That on Television as a kid, what was on MTV or HBO.

--Brian Nemtusak

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