Starring Marc Evan Jackson as Sparks Nevada and Mark Gagliardi as his faithful Martian companion, Croach the Tracker. Also starring Linda Cardellini, Joshua Malina, Annie Savage, and Garret Dillahunt. Recorded October 1, 2011.
My favorite Sparks episodes are when all of the characters hunker down in one location and their personalities and conflicting goals bounce off of each other. We had a nice run of these episodes leading up to the big musical finale of this storyline. This “Showdown, You Move Too Fast,” like last month’s “Date with Destinos” finds Sparks (Marc Evan Jackson) just trying to make time with his new girlfriend Rebecca Rose Rushmore (Linda Cardellini) but the weirdo sitcom characters surrounding them — Josh Malina‘s Barkeep, Mark Gagliardi‘s Croach the Tracker, and, insanely, Annie Savage‘s hilarious Robot Doors (the saloon’s artificial intelligence) — can’t leave them alone.
We always knew this storyline was leading to the robot outlaw Techs (introduced in the USSA spin-off, podcast #58) outgunning Sparks to become the new Marshal of Mars. Scoring Garret Dillahunt as Techs was a coup for us; we are enormous Deadwood fans. And having Garret as Techs gives this silly showdown gravitas we couldn’t have imagined.
That showdown, by the way, is sort of the quintessence of the comedy that Acker and I find so hilarious (and, I humbly submit, at which we excel). That is, finding the small moments in what should be big ones. Sparks’ (or possibly Techs’) life is on the line, but he gets caught up in the social mores of a proper showdown. Likewise, in this episode, the Robot Doors exclamation that she “gets Sparks’ Martian if he gets killed!” or Barkeep’s assertion that while he despises trouble in his place, he does like it right outside where he has the best seat for spectatorship. Our characters are basically selfish and myopic until they’re forced to accidentally act otherwise. Which is not to say that there isn’t good in them; it’s just not only (or most obvious) aspect of their personalities.
Anyway, a saloon with artificial intelligence being in love with a Martian who doesn’t understand emotion is funny, I think.