Prom Queen: Summer Heat



As Michael Eisner knows from his Disney days, sequels operate on a familiar premise: Take whatever worked in the first iteration and multiply. One villain in the first movie? Now two. Two explosions? Now four. It's a comforting kind of math -- what a primly gesticulating secretary of defense might call a force multiplier -- that ensures everything looks more pow bang boom, even if you're using the same script.

The same math applies to the latest from Eisner's Vuguru Prods., "Prom Queen: Summer Heat." The 15-episode mini-season sequel to his successful "Prom Queen," recently launched on a slew of sites, including MySpace, YouTube, Veoh and Blinkx. (The first season ran only on MySpace, suggesting that sequel mitosis with Internet content includes even distribution platforms.)

Despite the second series' truncated length (or because), everything in "Heat" is double time. More brief monologues, more quick scene changes, more guns, more dead bodies.

When we last left our improbably beautiful, pill-popping, knife-wielding, gunslinging, turbo-hormoned charges, they were recovering from a prom that ended with a corpse. But whatevs, these things happen, it's vacay time. So three of last season's main stars -- Ben (the smart one), Sadie (the dark one) and Chad (the soccer star) -- head down to Mexico for a little R&R. There they run into Nikki, Chad's nutjob blonde ex-girlfriend, who happens to be staying in the same house.

What follows is much lounging poolside, snarking, furtive glances, and off-screen oral sex. Really, this series could be softcore porn. It's like PG-13 Skinamax.

Except it's enjoyable. Once you get used to the show's rhythm -- I recommend watching five episodes at a time in the week-long recaps -- you're lulled into an "O.C."-like dream state of teenage semaphores. That's what "Heat" gets so right. In every scene, that incessant buzzing of phones on vibrate. The pinging of messages, the email notifications, the IMs. The characters lives are bounded by meaningful blips and ominous portents, as if their lives were lived by ringtone sonar.

And then there's the music. As with the original series, every episode in ""Heat" is soundtracked with one song. The effect is infectious, working much like, say, the soundtracks of "The O.C." or "Grey's Anatomy" do: Magnifying scenes by overly dramatic music choices.

Of course, "Heat" doesn't break any new ground. It's faster and more visually dramatic than the original, and tends to the absurd, i.e., black-masked men with assault rifles storm the kids' beach cabana, and Josh the enigmatic student turns out to be a Mexican drug runner called The Tooth Fairy.

Seriously. The idea is that these dramatic excesses will excite even more than the original series. It's not surprising when they don't. But what's surprising is that sometimes they do.