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Review: ‘Soup and a Sandwich,’ the Blackhawks’ quirky Twitter video series

This is a totally serious review. Definitely not satire.

Blackhawks on Twitter

A TV series based around the Chicago Blackhawks was inevitable. But the show we got wasn’t one anyone could’ve predicted.

The Chicago Blackhawks debuted their new series on Twitter on Wednesday night. It’s a miniseries revolving around defenseman Brian Campbell and winger Artemi Panarin.

It’s called Soup and a Sandwich because ... Campbell’s Soup and Panera Bread, Co. It will air every Wednesday until they run out of ideas.

As far as we can tell, the series will revolve around Brian Campbell trying to feed Panarin various bread and soup products. Campbell’s character is the more well-developed of the two, a cracker and soup connoisseur who seems amiable on the surface but possesses a dark undertone. For such a short series, Campbell seems to draw on the likes of John Goodman in “10 Cloverfield Lane” for the dual-personality type.

That movie’s sense of claustrophobia and paranoia and untrustworthiness is reflected heavily in the second episode of the series, where you realize that Panarin a) doesn’t want to be there and b) is sitting with Campbell in a warehouse of some sort.

The second episode sheds the idea that the series will be quirky and unpredictable in favor of a darker, more sinister undertone that makes you worry about the well-being of Panarin.

It’s a brave choice for the fledgling series to delve into such deep issues: should players who come over to North America be forced to live in the underground bunker of veterans with no oversight? Are saltine crackers actually delicious? And what does it say about our society when we begin to believe that saltines and soup constitute a healthy lunch?

These are questions that the Blackhawks seem to be posing to make you, the viewer, uneasy and question where we’re headed.

Much like Panarin’s character quietly questions whether he should run.

Dig deeper, and you realize Panarin’s questioning of Campbell’s motives reflects our society’s growing tendency to question our institutions. Campbell is a veteran. Panarin is in his second year in the league. Perhaps Campbell has lasted this long on a diet of saltines and Christmas sweaters. Panarin seems to doubt this, but he goes along anyway. The Blackhawks seem to be saying something about the conformity of youth.

Soup and a Sandwich is not perfect. In its first two episodes, it fails to find the balance between quirkiness and insightful drama. But the odd chemistry of its leads and its willingness to approach deep, food pyramid subjects other teams would not touch bode well for its future.

The trick will be allowing the saltine-like blandness of the setting, dialogue and structure to soak up the flavor of those soup-like qualities.

Grade: B+

Non-Serious Asides:

  • Welcome to SB Nation’s weekly review series you didn’t ask for of the Blackhawks’ web series you didn’t know existed. Apologies to the A.V. Club for so obviously stealing your structure. This is a loving homage.
  • Can anyone identify what kind of soup that is in the second episode? Book readers, help me out.
  • I wonder how many takes they needed to get Campbell to correctly say the word “inaugural” in the first episode.
  • I’d need about five.
  • Do others live with them in the bunker/warehouse?