The first episode of a series is rarely the best, so it wasn't too surprising that the point-and-click adventure Sam & Max: Episode 1: Culture Shock - while fun overall - was short, meandering and packed with uneven humor. We knew it'd get better, though, and with Episode 2: Situation: Comedy, it has. The writing is tighter, there's much more to do and the humor has edged closer to the inspired lunacy of the Sam & Max comic books. In short, the series is really starting to get off the ground.
While Culture Shock mostly took place in the dog-and-rabbit detective duo's rotting office and sleazy New York neighborhood, Situation: Comedy sends them to the local TV station to stop Myra Stump, a daytime talk-show host who's been holding her audience hostage for three days and showering them with gifts.
Of course, before the detectives can get to her, they'll have to ad-lib their way through a really bad sitcom, save their paranoid neighbor from the menace of naked, shoplifting rats and make inedible casseroles out of roofing tiles and MSG. Because apparently, just having huge firearms and police badges doesn't get you very far these days.
If you played Culture Shock, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from the gameplay in Situation: Comedy. As Sam, you'll once again wander around solving puzzles, navigating through conversations, smacking Max out of the way and helping yourself to everything that isn't nailed down.
The biggest difference from Culture Shock is that this time, you'll have a little more freedom to mess around, setting off actions and conversations that serve no purpose other than to be silly. Want to tell your sitcom landlord flat-out that you're trying to hide a cow from him, just to get a rise out of the classically trained chicken who plays him? Go right ahead. Feel like harmlessly shooting up the neighborhood convenience store to hear what the owner will say? Sure. You can even let Max babble about himself for at length on national TV, just to hear the dulcet strains of his squeaky little voice.
While it's more interesting and a little longer than the first episode, don't expect any great challenge from Situation: Comedy's puzzles. They're pretty clever and all, but so long as you explore everywhere, talk to everyone and don't mind a little trial and error, most of them won't give you any trouble. This is meant to be fun and breezy, not to send you hunting for hints.