Review: Alien News Desk “A Bunch of Space Bums”

Mooning, literally.

Overview (Spoilers!) 

Today in Earth news, the Chrysler building is for sale, Paris’s first naked restaurant has closed, and Tuva overdoes it on the sarcasm. Humans are making a fortune selling misprinted 1943 pennies, baseball (America’s favorite celebration of laziness) is back in season, and the supermoon is out—but humans are seriously underusing the moon. It could be an amusement park or prison or the home of inhibition-free orgies, or we could even carve it into the shape of a butt! So much wasted potential!

In a segment called Land vs. Sea, Drexx and Tuva discuss which will win in the aggressive war that is climate change. Sea is currently crushing the competition. The next segment up is Humans Attempt the Darnest Tech, where Drexx and Tuva laugh at humans’ pitiful, primitive attempts at technology. And then for everyone’s favorite part of the program: Events from a Corresponding Axial Rotation on a Previous Solar Orbit: This Of Course Predicated Upon a Linear Interpretation of the Space-Time Continuum! Drexx and Tuva discuss events from the past while surreptitiously debating whether this segment might be better if it had a slightly briefer name? Nope, the original name is way better.

Then Drexx and Tuva extoll the wonders of anabolic steroids before a commercial plays for a sitcom about an alien family that adopts a human (called Human Adult Being, or HAB for short). Tuva reveals that 0% of humans are dating their perfect partner before calling it quits for the evening.

Our Take

I don’t know if Alien News Desk used up its funniest parodies in episode 1, or if the show has just gotten less funny as I’ve been repeatedly exposed to it—I mean, most of its jokes are variations of the same bit over and over, i.e. Drexx and Tuva misunderstanding human culture in some madcap way. But either way, “A Bunch of Space Bums” just doesn’t bring the same chuckles to my lips as some of this show’s earlier escapades.

Part of this is related to problems I had with last week’s episodes: that some of the parodies aren’t so many jokes as statements of basic fact. In an attempt to satirize the iPhone 7’s missing headphone jack (which is news from way back 2016, I might add), Tuva says, “Humans are losing their goddamned minds over a repositioned headphone jack.” That’s not a joke, that’s just… true.

I continue to lose my goddamn mind, however, on how funny Drexx and Tuva’s simple mispronunciations can be. When New York City becomes “Nike” and Hawaii becomes “Hawaiaiai,” I’m a puddle of silly giggles. I also loved Drexx’s assessment that NYC is the city that never sleeps “because cities don’t require nocturnal rejuvenation” and the Chrysler Building is a temple to the deity “Jesus Crysler.” The idea that baseball is an activity where people buy tickets to watch other people kill time is pretty spot-on. The various suggestions as to how Earth could better use the moon are pretty great—I laughed at Drexx’s declaration that it’s like Earth has a giant rec room but it hasn’t installed a single air hockey table.

Other jokes I don’t quite get, such as the throwaway line that tattooing our loved ones’ names on our bodies will cure Alzheimer’s. Or when they talk about Phil Collins and show a picture of Putin? What’s up with that?

But Humans Attempt the Darnest Tech is accompanied by a charming laugh track and chorus of voices going “Aww!” and “Cute!” The idea that no one has ever found a way to make actually useful hand dryers for bathrooms is maybe the most spot-on joke this show has ever made (even though the accompanying visuals get a little gruesome). It’s amusing, if a little predictable, watching Drexx and Tuva debate which name to go with for their incredibly long-winded history segment. I laughed at the idea that, without steroids, Lance Armstrong would be about two inches high, but cringed a little at the sentient roid-fueled medal that wishes he had never been born. It’s funny when Tuva gets pissed off that humans feel there’s more to explore in the oceans than in space, and it’s nice that in the graphics displaying all the different pairings people on earth have tried out (and fucked up), there are gay and lesbian couples featured too. Turns out being bad at finding your soulmate isn’t just a straight trait, folks.

All in all, this episode was clearly produced by people with a bit more wit than these eponymous space bums, but I still think it has room to get even funnier.

Bodie Shanis

Bodie is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. You can often find him in odd costumes, either because he's at an anime convention or performing in a musical. He's currently working on his first novel.

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