Humorous entertainment doesn’t come to campus often enough. The Triangle Show plays twice a year, while Quipfire! improvises three times a semester. Aside from that, there’s not much else. Enter “The Princeton Sprint,” a weekly comedy that will debut on TigerVision, Princeton’s new television channel for student programming, in the spring. “Sprint” is a sometimes funny, if often predictable, show created, written and directed by Quipfire’s own Ben Fast ’06 and Scott Wolman ’07.
The new show follows the winless, talentless Princeton sprint football team, led by its quarterback, played by a stiff Freddy Flaxman ‘07, and wide receiver (Chris Arp ’08). In the pilot episode, a freshman (Kyle Booten ’08) tries to get acclimated to the school, while the team gets a new coach (Fast).
While “Sprint” is funny at times, its main problem is originality. Many of the characters are simply caricatures of stereotypical Princetonians: there’s a status-obsessed, popped collar-wearing, self-absorbed upperclassman (Andy Brown ‘07); two guys who go out during Freshman Week to meet the “freshman girls while they’re still thin;” and a pathetic, insecure freshman who gets locked out of his room in the middle of the night. The upside of having such characters is that their personalities require little exploration. What you see is what you get. But that’s also the downside.
Humor is the collision of the familiar with the unexpected, but here it isn’t especially inventive. “Sprint” relies on gags – injury to the male anatomy is a recurring one – that seem old and overused by the end of the 20-minute episode. Since there is certainly ample comedic fodder on campus for the writers of the show, it is puzzling as to why the writers consistently resort to the same sex and anatomy jokes. Gross-out humor is good and funny when it is fresh, but here it consistently feels like it is been pulled from a bad Farrelly Brothers movie.
Some bright spots in the show are Fast and Brown, who both have minor roles, but usually steal any scene they are in. Unfortunately, their scenes are not frequent enough. The lead actors – the quarterback, wide receiver and freshman, along with a linebacker and a kicker – are solid, but their comedic timing is not nearly as good as Fast’s and Brown’s.
On balance, the pilot is more amusing than not, despite its drawbacks. It is always lighthearted, and the actors never take themselves too seriously. “The Princeton Sprint” is not anything groundbreaking, but it should provide some weekly laughs. The show is worthy of another viewing in the hope that it will abandon some of its unoriginal characters and punch up its jokes. Considering the lack of comedic options here at Princeton, the growth of “The Princeton Sprint” would be a good thing.