A prime example of the show’s weak humor is in the second episode titled “3RNCRCS” when Doe and Quiet are in Las Vegas and are held hostage by machete-wielding, show-performer Sweet Tooth the Clown (wrestler Joe Seanoa as the body and Will Arnett, as the distracting voice). During a fight sequence where Doe and Tooth have an annoying ADR quip off, battling at a casino, they stop and share a moment due to Sisqó’s “Thong Song” playing on the jukebox. This joke would’ve killed in 2001, a time that predated modern comedy’s shameless need to rely on references. Today, it’s grating. Reese/Wernick’s laziness also extends to its bloody action violence, which relishes how much CG blood they can throw onscreen with no actual stakes.
The first half of the season pushes the pedal to the Metal with annoying in-your-face crass and shoddy writing, but the show improves in later episodes between Mackie and Beatriz. The reluctant partnership windshields on Quiet and Doe come down around midseason, and the two bond, helping each other out of deadly situations. Once it sets its juvenile qualities aside like a kid coming down from a sugar rush, the writing team develops these two leads, delving into the tragic backgrounds that set up the unexplored class divides nationwide. Whatever tragedy they faced in their past connects to their attachment to the things and people close to them in the present.
Thanks to a naturally charming and equally intimidating Beatriz contrasting Mackie’s natural charisma, their budding chemistry is adorable, albeit predictable. “Twisted Metal” crashes and burns as an action-comedy, but out of those ashes emerges an edgy rom-com. Believe it or not, it works. Even the episodic obstacles they face around the backend improve as comedic performers Chloe Fineman and Jason Mantzoukas pop in, providing unhinged performances that leave you wanting more.
The first season of “Twisted Metal” is a bizarre puzzle. Its first half is the most terrible series I’ve seen this year, which means most viewers will probably exit this TV highway. But in the second half, thanks to the solid efforts of its charming leads and comedic supporting characters, “Twisted Metal” turns into an adorable and raunchy rom-com. It’s the television equivalent of a Sour Patch Kid. First, it’s sour, and then it’s sweet.
The whole season was screened for review. “Twisted Metal” premieres July 27th on Peacock.