THE YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON TELEVISION FAN CLUB SKETCH COMEDY SHOW! EPISODE 2: POLITICS!, Low Sodium Entertainment, at Link’s Hall. Lameness was part of the joke on the 80s TV show that inspired this production: strapped by a tiny budget and the G ratings of its Nickelodeon home, it winked overtime at its rudimentary, blandly scripted gags and sketches. Obligatory cartoonish vulgarity aside, Low Sodium has that half-assed deadpan approach down cold. But a knowing lameness never made the TV show very funny, and it doesn’t do the job here either.

A big “fan” might disagree, as this show trades primarily on nostalgia, with a dash of workmanlike political humor about current events. The cast are adequate, the stars (Marc Lessman and Jacob Smith) reasonably good, and the scenario–Smith vies with incumbent Lessman in an election for host of part three–is clever if too cute. Director-writer Aaron Haber sometimes appears to know what he’s doing, wringing laughs from ho-hum bits through judicious repetition, and the basic-cable feel is accurate. But things plateau at generalized likability, and after about ten minutes I started wondering, just as I did when watching You Can’t Do That on Television as a kid, what was on MTV or HBO.

–Brian Nemtusak