[show=sandwichterror size=large]So many years after its breakout series House of Cosbys won our hearts and minds, it’s nice to know that web site/contest/network hybrid Channel 101 is still a hotbed of amazing comedy. What’s its secret? The monthly screenings, during which audiences put natural selection to work by voting on what series should continue? Or the large and supportive creative community that’s evolved among those who submit shows? I honestly don’t care, so long as stuff like Sandwich of Terror, a continues to come out of it.
Now on its third episode, Sandwich of Terror is both delightful parody and heartfelt ode to the sort of trashy late-night TV we were forced to watch in the days before we could stay up until 2 a.m. surfing the Net. A satire of terror anthologies like The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, each episode features two mini-stories interspersed with basic cable-quality commercials, all framed around an ultra-pretentious voice-over about the sandwich as a metaphor for fear. With a runtime of five minutes per episode, this makes Sandwich one of the tightest-paced web series around, and each second is damned funny.
The show’s success, though, is due largely to its tone. The deadpan approach of its actors is reminiscent of early Zucker brothers films like Airplane, and it’s their unwinking reactions to each absurd event which sells each joke. Sometimes the gags are a little easy — the second episode installment Contractual Damnation is a bit lazy in playing with the “selling your soul to the Devil” cliche. But when pushed to their comedy extreme, such as the first episode’s Frequency of Fear, the results are pretty classic.
Escape Pod Films‘s first Channel 101 success, Scissor Cop, ran for eight episodes despite really only having one joke at its core, but Sandwich‘s format frees the creators up to explore a wide range of satire within the horror realm. Judging by the number of Scary Movies alone, that’s a lush realm indeed.