I’m not sure if the title of The Fold — a web series that just released its fifth of six episodes of its first season — is related to Nicholson Baker’s book The Fermata, in which the narrator, Arno Strine, can stop time, and refers to the a state of suspended animation in which he is free to control anyone as “the fold.” Given the tone of the series from director and co-writer Matt Lambert, I would imagine that he is somewhat familiar with Bake, who, though not through Sci-Fi, may be one of the more notable contemporary writers concerned with sexual perversion.
In the fourth episode, we begin to learn a little more about what exactly “The Fold” is, though it’s still somewhat unclear – I think it is something similar to what Baker’s describes, except maybe with a component of virtual reality .
If you haven’t figured it out, this show is for geeks, despite being extremely explicit. Like very NSFW. I don’t think I’ve seen Internet video that was this NSFW except for, well, porn.
The Fold was co-written by Polly Frost and Ray Sawhill, a husband and wife duo who are known for their erotica (Frost’s most recent book, Deep Inside, was reviewed by Ron Jeremy). Frost also writes a horror column, and together they produce an audio saga called Sex Scenes. Now you can see where they get the NSFW part. Jamison recently met up with the trio to discuss The Fold, erotica, film and digital media…
The first three episodes follow different characters whose lives become intertwined as the story develops, and they’re a quite odd and geeky bunch. A young scientist with Asperger‘s struggling to finish his time machine, and his CEO father who demands it. A blogger from “Gaming Babes Magazine” investigating a hot tub salesman from Teaneck with a strange sexual power. The parallel stories require a pretty large cast, most of whom, I should add, we hear having orgasms.
So far, we know that some online gamer sex-cult leader has predicted a massive worldwide orgasm, which is somehow related to time travel, and this hot tub salesman. I’m predicting some kind of Twelve Monkeys twist, where someone from the future is manipulating the past, but really, it’s up in the air.
The sex, which I’ll assume is simulated, is unappealing. It feels wrong against these highly stylized performances and the general absurdity of the series, but I guess that’s the point. You shouldn’t watch this if you’re an adolescent looking for something racy on the net (though maybe some fetishists might be turned on by this stuff). In general, the over-the-top-acting might be too reminiscent of the sketch comedy stylings that the The Fold seems to denigrate.
From their website, “The web serial is a great format to work in, but so far I’ve seen it mostly used just for sketch comedy…I think we were able to make a larger-than-life story with an arc and intensity particularly suited to the rhythms of a webseries…”. For me, it takes away from an interesting storyline that is otherwise exceptionally well executed, despite only an $8,000 budget.
Overall, the show manages to make classic sci-fi themes and the whole erotica thing work surprisingly in sync. The setting is more Fifth Element than Blade Runner, but it hints at philosophy worthy of Philip K Dick (he wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which Blade Runner is based on) updated for the Internet generation.
It’s a lot to take in. And despite its faults, still one to watch. If you’re a geek, this is not one to miss. Catch all the episodes at TheFold.tv.