by Mike Poblete · August 18, 2015
Olga Elliot, Brandi Bravo | Torie Shipley
If the names Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee and Jay Wilds send shivers down your spine, then you are one of the 39 million people for whom Serial: The Parody is intended. The radio show and podcast that enraptured so many of us during its run, and ultimately left us with more questions than answers, has been envisioned as a comedy by writers/performers Brandi Bravo and Olga Elliot.
Sarah Koenig, played by Bravo, is hopelessly in love with Adnan, portrayed by a shirtless, flowing haired, chiseled Aldo Uribe, who comfortably passes his time in prison by knitting scarves and eating lobster. After seeking out Detective Macgillivary, portrayed by Elliot as Matthew McConaughey’s Detective Cohle from True Detective, Koenig goes on a bizarre journey, bringing her to Best Buy, Hae’s ghost and the Department of Butt Dial Records, attacking any woman along the way who shares her romantic feelings for Adnan.
In my favorite sequence, Koenig and Serial producer Dana find the infamous Jay, portrayed by Jonathan Braylock as the kind of neighborhood psycho that burns ants with a magnifying glass during his lunch break, and engage in a series of pot-smoking activities to learn from him the truth about the murder including Truth or Dare and a Destiny’s Child dance off. At one point they use a Ouija board to ask Hae about her killer, and Jay overtly pushes the piece around to spell “Adnan.”
There are some nice moments for the initiated, such as Elliot’s pitch perfect vocal performance as the grating attorney Cristina Gutierrez, and Mark Van Hare’s clever remixes of the Serial theme song. However, the show is mostly propelled by over-the-top cartoonish jokes that fell flat for the audience the night I attended; such as a testicle double entendre, out of place True Detective references, and Hae’s ghost perpetually craving chocolate due to her dying on her period. Indeed, the biggest laughs came not from constructed jokes but rather from the mere recognition of details from the podcast, such as The “Nisha Call” and “Leakin Park.” At forty-five minutes long with a confusing plot, Serial: The Parody delivers a few laughs, but not as many as it intends.