Home » True Crime Spoofing and Social Justice on Wheels

The team behind the hour-long audio drama “Wheels of Justice” foreshadows the controversy inherent in a story about wheelchair users with their name of “No Redeeming Qualities Productions.” That said, the conflicting commentary on social justice and inclusivity is something the writers perhaps didn’t intend.

The (Social) Setup…

Starting off as a spoof of true crime podcasts, two podcasters try their hands at investigating a high-profile death regarding a wheelchair and a Texas Governor. Before investigating, their motivations are quickly established in an impromptu pre-roll that sounds half-riffed and half-scripted, but not in a good way.

Surprising no one, their motivation for starting a true-crime podcast is to make money. The story goes full spoof mode in their tone and comes across as the humor of “Epic Movie” or “Meet the Spartans” combined with a poor attempt at satire. Worst of all, it maintains this trajectory for most of the runtime and treats social justice like a joke.

…The (Justice) Punchline?

Counting the number of times you laugh on one hand is a bad indicator for any comedy. Spending the first two-thirds of a story riffing on disabled people only to have one character with empathy show up, makes the story’s message is a certifiable mess. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the main characters? At every turn, they make jokes that not only don’t land but also make you actively groan.

It’s reminiscent of the critical response to “Sucker Punch” from 2011. A story about female empowerment with imagery of women in tight skirts and scantily-clad outfits. How someone views that movie tells a lot about a person’s stance on gender relations. Wheels of Justice is the audio version of that, but for disabilities.

404: Social Justice Not Found

Releasing this in 2019 is arguably the best and worst time for an audio drama of this nature to exist. It’s not a matter of the “woke mob” or social justice warrior’s (SJW) silencing speech. The issue here is that the jokes are painfully not funny. You can make the case they’re offensive or inoffensive. The physical movement of the human mouth and the sound associated with laughter is nowhere to be found.

The unlikeable main characters and the subject matter make this story hard to stomach. It’s raunchy without the sexy and offensive without the absurdity. It’s not like Batman’s the Joker where you hate yourself for laughing afterward. You hate yourself for laughing at all because the jokes are just unfunny. The one thing that keeps it from failing is a character who calls them out on their BS, but it comes too little too late. It’s saying nothing about nothing and that makes it slog.

6/10 Stars

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