Avenue 5: And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off...
January 30, 2020 7:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

As Avenue 5 sails on, there's optimism! And coordination! And a memorial. And advocacy. And marital counseling.

Official synopsis: As Rav and her team meet with a NASA representative to plot a potential rescue mission, Ryan learns that Cyrus, an engineer working in a hidden part of the ship, has a surprisingly optimistic theory about the ship's future. Judd donates a lavish personal item to help commemorate a fallen crew member. Karen becomes a vocal advocate for passengers. Mia and Doug receive marital counseling from Matt.

Avenue 5 sputters along when it should be picking up steam (Kate Kulzick for TV/AV Club, who gives the episode a C+)
The premiere of Avenue 5 had a lot of legwork to do, introducing its large cast and sending its more lavish S. S. Minnow off course. Now that the core ensemble are established and the stakes of the situation are clear—over 5,000 passengers and crew are stranded in space, their eight week pleasure cruise now a leaderless three year marathon—the show can get started. Unfortunately, “And Then He’s Gonna Shoot Off…” well, doesn’t. Rather than picking up steam and exploring the complications its premise presents, the writers continue to center on squabbling passengers and the same broad thematic swipes that failed to land any meaningful punches in the premiere.
Episode review on TellTale TV, by Kevin Lever, with a more optimistic review:
It’s a difficult balancing act, matching the wild with the reasonable, and while Avenue 5 may be leaning one way more than the other here, a little to its detriment, there are things that are working wonderfully.

The parts that do land turn out to be the more macabre humor. The orbiting coffin is a particularly funny bit, as is the accompanying transparent boxes with one of the dead coming out of it, endlessly cycling around the ship for the rest of the journey. It’s grotesque, but the manner Avenue 5 displays them, and the lack of concern from the main players, is a little window into these people at the end of their rope.

The visual gags in the background also do some of the heavy lifting, one of the more memorable ones being Judd’s insistence he is a passenger just like everyone else, and a billboard of him promoting the ship pops up immediately right behind him. It’s the little things like that, or how every single menu item at the restaurant is named after him in some way, that helps play to the egomaniac side of Judd.
posted by filthy light thief (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I’d like them to hurry up and make Karen the captain and have a major thread be her as the neighborhood busy-body be competent but in over her head. Judd needs to be fridged or shoved out an airlock.

I think the orbiting caskets (that’s not how physics works!) and especially the whole heavier casket is more likely to be pulled back may be a bridge too far for me if they are also trying to go with the hardish sci-fi premise of gravity turns and the sensitivity of orbits. I suppose the whole action-reaction issues with the artificial gravity failure pushing them off course should have clued me in.
posted by TheJoven at 8:42 AM on January 30, 2020

I don't think it was the artificial gravity failure so much as 5,000 people crashing into the side of the ship.

My theory is that it's all going to get very messy - I'm reminded of the sketch from The Day Today where civilisation breaks down on a train that's stopped in the middle of Hampshire due to a faulty signal. I wonder how many corpses will be spinning around them by the time they get home.

I'm enjoying it a lot, and hope to continue to do so, even if it doesn't get quite as Lord of the Flies as I'm expecting.
posted by Grangousier at 11:30 AM on January 30, 2020

e01 I gave the benefit of the doubt, but this episode isn't doing much for me. The time lag gag stopped being funny the first time around.

The casket thing is grimly funny, but given how badly they got celestial mechanics for the main ship wrong I can't forgive casket faux physics.

There's not a single character that I like other than the captain, but he's a jerk and a weak person.

I think they either tread too fine of a line or it was written by committee and ended up luke warm instead either pulling it into the realms of the absurd or the realms of darkly bitter.

Still there's potential, but I'll probably only give this the 3 ep tryout if this gets posted next week to remind me.
posted by porpoise at 8:31 PM on January 30, 2020

Karen is right that all these people are incompetent, as any competent organization would have already put Karen in ship jail! (This show has made me miserably aware of my authoritarian tendencies. I would've locked her up halfway through the first episode.)

I'm pretty obsessed with Iris already, though per the Ianucci-verse's usual rules, being the most competent person around isn't a good thing. It means that some combination of greed, laziness, vanity, and/or perversion has led you to put your talents and in the service of a bad person (Judd) and a worse system (tourism? capitalism?).

I'm a VERY big fan of the gold coffin.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:33 PM on January 30, 2020

You can't simultaneously ridicule Judd for confusing gravity and mass and at the same time have the damn coffins orbiting. I mean, at that point I was practically thinking, well, under Einstein's equivalence principle, Judd's not that far off. When you've driven your audience to defending Judd by episode 2...
posted by chortly at 9:08 PM on January 30, 2020

The issue of running out of food hasn't come up yet. I guess they'll save that til episode 4 or 5 and try to milk some humor out of it. Try.
posted by Catblack at 6:53 AM on January 31, 2020

Aniwara here, little populated thread. Everyone in here should go check it out, but be ready fir a rigorously bleak setting and execution.
posted by mwhybark at 11:12 PM on February 1, 2020

Goddamn my aging eyes and autocorrect. Aniara. for. apologies
posted by mwhybark at 11:30 PM on February 1, 2020

oh FFS, wrong thread again. Wevs. Sorry.
posted by mwhybark at 11:32 PM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

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