Sin City Saints Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6 Review: “A Basket Full of Rainbows”/”You Booze, You Lose”

Sin City Saints

Sin City Saints has bounced around the edges of interesting stories throughout its first season, but as seen in both “A Basket Full of Rainbows” and “You Booze, You Lose,” the show’s still struggling to find any kind of narrative – or more importantly, emotional – consistency. Some of this comes from how stories are constructed, some of it comes from the lack of any strong, fleshed out secondary characters, but together, all of it brings down a show that appeared to be plateauing heading into this pair of episodes.

Like the four episodes preceding them, both “A Basket” and “You Booze” often suffer from an imbalance in their own humanity: that is, most first and second act scenes of Sin City Saints episodes present audiences with a thin set of characters constructed around one-liners; Byron is an uptight Asian nerd, Jake is an arrogant billionaire, etc., etc. These characters are really only offered any kind of emotional depth or intelligence at random moments, teasing the audience with a much more balanced show, that can glean comedy from the behavior of emotionally damaged people trying to take steps forward, rather than everybody just being self-serving jerks, always. That pervasive attitude often brings down Sin City‘s brand of comedy – particularly when it involves things like the head coach pretending to be gay so he can’t get fired for being racist, or any number of slightly unpleasant story lines Sin City Saints has offered up in its attempts to establish itself as an edgy workplace comedy.

The few moments Sin City Saints allows itself to break out of that pattern, it reveals a much more intriguing comedy underneath it. Jake and Dusty’s conversation near the end of “You Booze” (an episode constructed around Jake trying not to do drugs or get laid until his team wins) is a glance into this world, just like the one we got into Jake’s childhood during “Mrs. Wu’s Tang”; this sense of reflection is absent from every other scene (and character) on the show, and stands out in stark contrast to 95% of the show’s material. That 5% of real, emotionally engaged storytelling really needs to build itself out to 15-20% for the show to be more consistently symbiotic: the threads of connection between characters like Jake and Dusty, or any of the on/off court conflicts between players are there, but often exist only as abstracts to create simple jokes out of, leading to odd resolutions like the reveal in “Rainbows” that Artahk took the cell phone video that got the coach in trouble (didn’t the team just give him his job back?), or Jake breaking his own bet with the radio show host to a woman he tells “I’d pay you a million dollars just to stop talking.”

Sin City Saints only occasionally follows through on these stories in meaningful ways, even though it clearly constructs itself as a serialized series, suggesting these are all leading somewhere. The final two episodes of its first season will answer this definitively – but even if the show’s able to build something out of the random array of components its created in those final two episodes, there just isn’t enough time for Sin City Saints to work out the kinks in its comedic rhythms, which broken down are mostly just a long string of characters insulting other characters (with the occasional physical gag thrown in). That formula can work (especially with the absurdist bent it gains from its oft-referenced location), if there’s something underneath those insults, some direction of character growth for this to lead in. At times, Sin City Saints has hinted towards having that kind of depth, but these two episodes again prove the show’s continued allegiances to the short term benefits of a more cruel, superficial (and predictable) brand of comedy.

[Photo via Yahoo Screen]

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