Machinima’s ‘Tainted Love’ a Wild, Graphic Ride
/ Jul 9, 2013

taintedlove

We ranked it:

A

I don’t want to go all Marshall McLuhan boring TV historian on you, but it’s safe to say the best shows fit the medium. The web, internet-TV medium is still feeling its way toward mass appeal by experimenting with commercial programming suited for today’s multi-screen, ADD consumer who wants to be entertained or informed in a few blinks of the eye. As a prime example of a short and powerful smack to the senses, I call your attention to NSFW “Tainted Love,” a wild, graphic novel of a web series from Machinima, an entertainment company whose target is “hard to reach 18-34 year old males.” (So it says on its website.)

Synopsis: Orlando Jones is Black Barry, our heroic villain who teams up with his with-child girlfriend, Jezebel (Deanne Reeves), to square off with underworld boss, Eric Roberts. Jones and Reeves commandeer a large pile of cash destined for Roberts, which leads to much gunplay, excessive foul language, and a rather large dose of blood-like substances. Cops enter the fray and the old Witness Protection gambit is tossed into the mix. As you can tell, the plotline is predictable, but who cares? The animated comic-book-on-steroids display of graphic annotations is hilarious with the overall production on par with any superhero action flick. Each episode is a rapid-fire five minutes save for the season finale which is closer to eight, complete with ending cliffhanger.

Jones and Roberts are perfect bookends here, each bringing a wealth of film and TV experience to the party. Jones is a rare acting chameleon, changing from funny to crazed maniac in seconds through facial expressions punctuated by a somewhat crazed pair of googly eyes. Roberts, who won a Golden Globe in 1983 for his memorable turn as Playmate Dorothy Stratten’s jilted murderous mentor, has perfected the off-his-rocker bad guy which is on display in a memorable “CSI: Miami” episode (Whacked: Season 3, episode 23) and “The Dark Knight.” Face it, the dude is just plain creepy.

All of the glory that is “Tainted Love” aside, the distribution model of the Machinima Prime network is rather cattywhompus (as they say in the South). Machinima overall has north of eight million YouTube subscribers but a show like this comedic action/drama gets lost among the programming aimed at gaming enthusiast. With Machinima’s ambition to create a premium subscription video/OTT business, there is hope that “Tainted Love” could portend a new wave of programming suited to tastes of attention-starved digitally inclined young consumers.

 

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