THE FANDOM MENACE, Argos Agency, at ImprovOlympic. Two years ago Jason R. Chin and company produced a popular three-act version of the Star Wars trilogy that might still be running today if it hadn’t been closed for copyright infringement. Now, in the midst of the latest Lucasfilm media blitz, the Argos Agency is back with another Star Wars parody. Or, to be more accurate, the same Star Wars parody spruced up with new gags, new choreography, and a new name (the new movie, however, isn’t mentioned, except in the title).

This production is more streamlined and faster moving than the original. And the Argos Agency takes pains, both in the program and at the top of the show, to remind us that it “has nothing to do with Star Wars…and is not authorized or endorsed by [Lucasfilm].”

But despite the disclaimer, The Fandom Menace still slavishly follows much of the originals’ story lines and dialogue. This may please the fanboys in the audience–many of whom virtually recited the dialogue with the actors–but frustrates the hell out of people who believe satire should be made of sterner stuff. Where are the pointed observations about George Lucas’s hidden messages? Where’s the deconstruction of his sometimes troubling agenda, with its fascist worship of technology and fuzzy notions of spirituality? At the very least someone could have taken a slash at the current mind-numbing PR barrage.

–Jack Helbig