Theatre Review: Better Days (Episode 4)

Friday night (April 26) is your final chance to catch the fourth episode of Better Days, SAK Comedy Lab's late-night scripted sit-com. (Read my previous reviews of episodes one, two, and three.)

In "Pop," Todd (Mike Carr) and Jocelyn (Jennifer Bonner) conspire to pull the plug on their gourmet popsicle making neighbor Camantha, who was his college girlfriend and her high school frenemies. Across town, Ray (Will Hagaman) and Jeff (Chris Dinger) drag a depressed Sarah (Ana Eligio) to a certain I-Drive paint-splattering peformance, where Ray's attempts at intimacy are thwarted by Sarah's extreme intoxication.

Writers Tod Kimbro and John Valines have sharpened their sitcom structure, building well-balanced A and B stories and casting memorable guest stars (Ali Flores gets a couple great exits as a perpetually stoned bar patron). The requisite geek jokes are as good as ever (Eureka's Global Dynamics is namechecked as responsible for Ray's missing parents) and the abrupt introduction of a pointless new character is handed in appropriate WTF? fashion by the cast. Plus, there's a shoutout to OW's Adam McCabe to pander to this paper's readers.

Episode 4's flaw is that, while plenty funny, it takes backward steps with regard to character developent. Jeff was revealed as a struggling single parent in the previous episode, but this week he's back to his hard-drinking horndog ways with no care for the kid. If only the writers can finally find the right balance between heart and humor, they will be on the verge of having a broadcast-worthy formula.


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