Let it be known that actor/director, Onur Tukal, doesn’t invite you to like his characters. His last multitasking effort, Summer Of Blood, saw him shake up vampire mythology by playing a man on who the powers of immortality are wholly wasted. In the equally nihilistic Applesauce, Tukal’s tale blossoms on a hotbed of marital indifference, hypocrisy, and body parts.
When high school teacher, Ron (Tukal), confesses to his wife, Nicki (Triese Kelly Dunn), and friends, Kate (Jennifer Prediger) and Les (Max Casella), that he once accidently cut the fingers off someone in college, his tale sparks off a series of confessions that culminates with one of infidelity that reverberates through the group. Soon afterwards, someone starts sending Ron severed fingers in the mail.
Perhaps not surprisingly if you’ve seen Tukal’s previous work, the cast-offs from a cadavre play second fiddle to the group’s cynicism and hysteria. If Ron is the hero of the piece, then it’s only because we spend more time with his self-righteousness. He waxes lyrical to his students about the need for empathy, before failing to give Nicki any wiggle room when she burps out her latest confession. Their inability to listen to each other and talk things through means that they doom themselves to ever-increasing acts of one-upmanship and tit for tat, where no one learns their lesson. Their world is so insular that a severed penis found in a portion of chow mein isn’t enough for them to miss a step as they point the finger. Pun not intended. Applesauce is an uncomfortable watch that is blisteringly funny. It’s Seinfeld, a show that revelled in its nothingness, brought to its natural conclusion. Its emphasis on the group’s fighting shows that you don’t need a social network account to highlight your own narcissism.