Video Game High School: Terrible Ninjas and the Broken Law
Video Game High School is in the midst of trying real hard to be a traditional TV show in an Internet format. That means a 30-minute run time and three commercial breaks. It's kind of a risky move, considering the even shows like Arrested Development used the freedom of streaming to experiment with narrative length per episode, but thus far the show has managed to do very well in crafting enough plot and comedic beats to fill the time.
Ted Wong is still trying to find his place on the racing team, and while he's not excelling academically so far, he does try to regain his class' respect by going on a mission to raid the teacher's lounge for sodas in a nighttime mission in full ninja regalia. This leads to one if the series' best in-jokes as he ends up hiding inside a cardboard box a la Solid Snake.
Unfortunately, though he completes the mission he loses Drift King's key to the lounge when the drift racers' rival, the Duchess of Kart, swoops in with a kiss and steals the key. The only way to win it back is for Ted and Brian D to best her and her mobile gaming battle kart team in a match.
I really like how well the show has branched out into other genres this season, but I still feel like they haven't really been able to recapture the tension of matches and battles from the first season. There are some wonder moments of brilliant play from Ted in the extremely well-done kart battle. It's probably as perfect as that genre could ever be portrayed in real life, but like the FPS from last episode the outcome seems almost pre-determined.
Nice as it is to see Ted finally pull one off instead of his perennial second place status, you just never get the impression he had to try very hard to win. The battle isn't boring by a long shot, but it his loss to Drift King in their duel last season felt more like a win than his triumph over the Duchess.
As a side note, Joanna Sotomura brings a real overt sexuality to the series in her brief few minutes on screen, something that is a little lacking otherwise. It was refreshing to have such a growling female presence as a foil to both Ted's awkwardness and DK's over-the-top courtliness.
Where the episode really shines though is in the work done between Brian Firenzi and Ellary Porterfield. The Law has always been a master of his own unique brand of humorous timing and surreal manipulation, but this is really the first time he's been able to bring out that same ability in another actor.
Broken and disgraced, The Law has been forced into room mating with Brian and Ted as a punishment for his hacking and general attitude. This has led him down a horrible spiral of self-destruction that puts him at odds with Ki as the new Resident Adviser of the floor. With little more than fart noises The Law begins a campaign of completely terrorizing Ki, who manages to hold up against it with the strange quirky sense of presence that she always brings to any given moment.
Ki, like Ted, is another character desperately searching for a place to belong, but in opposition to Law we see the deeply competitive and brilliant side that got her into VGHS in the first place. No one else could have possibly stood up to the masterful harassment that The Law throws at her, and not only does she best him in wits she manages to seal the deal with a punch to the nose.
It's almost impossible to describe how incredibly hilarious the scenes between the two of them were. It speaks volumes of Porterfield that she can convey such wholesomeness and raw power in the face of Law's famous intimidation, and she serves as a perfect foil for the brilliant physical comedy of Firenzi who overplays his part so hardcore it comes all the way back around to perfect.
The current series in acing it in comedy, but until it games another great in game villain like The Law the play sections are going to remain somewhat lacking. Currently we simply lack a boss fight to look forward too, but at least the laughs along the way are many and loud.
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