So now we come to the final stretch of Martin Ponferrada and Mark Nunari’s hugely enjoyable improvisational sitcom. This is our review of episodes 10 – 12 of the great web series Lunch Room.
Unfortunately, these latest episodes are not quite as strong as the earlier ones and they suffer in comparison to the rest of the series.
Whether it was the pandemic taking hold or the difficulty in finding new material, episodes 10, 11, and 12 just fail to reach the heights of their predecessors. The most enjoyable parts of the series have been the interactions and quick-wittedness of the group as a whole, but we haven’t experienced this for some episodes now and the buzz has died down. Again I’m assuming this is all down to Covid and out of the hands of the creators so I won’t judge them too harshly. It’s just that I have been thoroughly enjoying the company of the young, OzSupermart staff and I guess the reality is that I’m missing them.
There is also a greyer, gloomier feel to these 3 latest chapters and an overarching sense of melancholy that permeates through the scenes. Even the earlier episodes on politics didn’t feel this heavy, although I really should praise the filmmakers for actually making me feel something at all. That in itself takes some doing.
Episode 10: Werewolves
This is where the creators allow us to learn more about the adults who work in the shop. Matthew, played with a sardonic hangdog expression by Matthew R. Grego, is part of the generation X-ers who were the focus of these types of films and TV shows back in the ’90s, Lamont, played by Darren Lamont, is slightly younger but still of that generation who were the fixtures and stars of the Linklater, Smith, Anderson (Wes and Paul Thomas), 90’s films. Both spend all of ‘Werewolves’ wondering if their generation did actually achieve anything of note or did they just make things worse for the kids they are now in charge of?
Episode 11: Eddie
This is actually a very clever piece of work and the only episode of Lunch Room that could very well stand up on its own merits as a rather excellent short film. ‘Eddie’ is a two-shot doubleheader set in the back of a taxi cab over a few weeks. It shows the burgeoning relationship between Brad and Lily, as they travel to work together every day. Beginning with smiles, excitement, and genuine feelings of love between the couple, the relationship deteriorates before our very eyes. All of this takes place entirely in the back seat of an Uber.
Episode 12: Heavyweight Champion Of The World
Episode 12 seems to take place just after Brad’s previous break-up. Some of the gang are back for this episode and it makes a difference almost immediately as every actor raises their game and the energy is back. As Brad scrambles for help after finding out he has drunk-dialed Sorchia the previous night, we are treated to a weird customer and one of the best ways for a customer service agent to avoid dealing with someone’s complaints.
A mixed bag from Lunch Room this time around but I’m genuinely hooked and can’t wait for the final 3 episodes.