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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Other Space: “Trouble’s Brewing”

Illustration for article titled iOther Space/i: “Trouble’s Brewing”
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Other Space could potentially be much more hampered by its own concept. Six people stranded on a ship does not allow for many new scenarios if only because there aren’t any opportunities for new characters to be introduced. But, hey, being in a universe warp where anything goes tends to help. If there’s no verisimilitude of the world that the show exists in, it makes it easier to break all of the rules. There’s the alien being that was Dave Franco, the illusions that almost caused total destruction in the “Into the Great Beyond … Beyond,” but in “Trouble’s Brewing,” the seventh character of the cast becomes the pun-loving revolutionary Coffee Bot who has never been introduce before. I will not lie, I am a sucker for any kind of punning, so Coffee Bot (voiced by short-lived Saturday Night Live alum John Milhiser) has been my favorite addition thus far. Too bad about that first rule of robotics and all.

Written by Trophy Wife and Benched alum Ben Smith, “Trouble’s Brewing” is the funniest of Other Space’s run so far. It plays with a lot of pop culture tropes — Ray Bradbury’s laws of robotics are in effect, and Coffee Bot is apparently a big Captain Phillips fan. The most human of the characters are essentially given over to play to their basest instincts, some in the more literal sense. This allows for some mixing up of the pairings (Michael literally says he’s never worked closely with Tina before) for some unexpectedly excellent chemistry from the cast. In contrast, the least human members of the crew — Natasha, Kent, A.R.T. and, of course, Coffee Bot — want the opposite; they wanted the human privileges not afforded to them.


Karen and Stewart have allow both of their ruling stylings to go unchecked — no one gets what they want and everyone gets what they want, respectively — and without the counterbalance of each other the ship falls into mutiny. Karen and Stewart have had their moments of anger and heart-to-hearts before, but they rarely get to be happy with each other’s work. Karen, in fact, rarely gets to be happy with anything at all and it was a nice change of pace for her character to do something other than yell, cry or feel awkward. Of course, it was in a place of power that felt at her most comfortable. That devious smile when Stewart gets angry at the coffeemaker is the most I’ve ever liked her. Stewart, too, got to show a range beyond unflagging positivity, even if that Coffee Bot-directed rage was the start of the mutiny against him. Even the sweetness between Kent and Natasha was lovely in its own way, if only because it finally gave Kent an ally, rather than everyone just thinking he was sort of creep. It’s a deserved sentiment against Kent, but hey, it was nice to see him have some friends.

Michael and Tina had the strangest pairing. The planet they go to does not sync up temporally with the ship and what feels like six hours (and 20 minutes, dues to revolution) on the ship is month on the planet. Watching them mimic the cast is delightful, but the turn their storyline took was an intense one. Let’s just say Tina is turning into quite a different character than she was initially introduced as. The culmination of Tina and Michael’s storyline is perhaps one of Other Space’s biggest tells that this is not the show that would have eventually landed on NBC as it was originally intended. Tina’s cannibalism — especially when they could generate food — was a surreal turn, but it was one of the bigger diversions from what would appear on traditional TV that Other Space has displayed so far.


Stray observations:

  • “At least I was classy enough to insult you behind your back.”
  • “Don’t just appease him Stewart. Would you hug a baby just because it cried?” “One would think…”
  • “As far as those humans are concerned, robots are only good for three things: cheap labor, remote bombing, and off the beaten path sex stuff.”
  • “I say enslave them! Strip ‘em nude and then just see where we’re at.”
  • “Women are starting a baseball team? Love it!”
  • “I make the puns!”

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