This article reviews a production that contains mature themes that may not be suitable for readers under the age of 18.
Evoking the spirit of Pixar’s Inside Out, Jerk is a production that follows three individuals within a young boy’s mind as they attempt to regulate his mood and provide him with dopamine. The three individuals, Ivan (Nick Edgeworth, also writer), Ellen (Harley Truslove) and Simon (Ryan Harris), form part of a larger bodily network that is overseen by an off-screen presence in Sarah to guide the actions that the young boy takes as he grows up. Ivan, Simon and Ellen respectively represent the Freudian ideas of the id, ego and superego. Ivan is hedonistic and instinctual, with this being juxtaposed by Simon’s moralising and critical nature, while Ellen attempts to mediate the interactions between the two.
The entire cast provides a strong performance in this show, with Edgeworth in particular skilfully depicting Ivan’s sordid and indignant nature. As Ivan’s addiction to pornography as a means of providing dopamine becomes more entrenched as Jerk unfolds, Edgeworth’s appearance and mannerisms commensurately become more unkempt and vulgar. Edgeworth, Truslove and Harris all bounce well off each other, with moments of conflict and frustration feeling believable and fluid.
The production of Jerk also complements the show – there are three separate cameras that simultaneously display close-up shots of the characters throughout the production, allowing viewers to immediately see their reactions to each other without the need for a shot change. The leitmotif used for the introduction of dopamine for the young boy is also distinct as a humming and whirring noise plays while lights flash different colours, establishing this as a sought-after result for the characters in Jerk.
However, there are some instances where the production of the show can be detrimental to its quality. In parts, the dialogue being spoken by the actors can be lost under the ambient sounds or by the leitmotif used for dopamine. In addition to this, the cuts in between scenes feel quite abrupt as the screen cuts to black before immediately beginning a new scene.
Overall, Jerk provides a comedic insight into growing up while not shying away from demonstrating the impact that pornography addiction can have on ideas of sexuality and relationships.