Splitsider

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

This Week’s Web Series You Need To Watch: “Starf*ckers”

It’s nice to write for a readership that gets comedy and Splitsider's’ certainly does. You understand the importance of craft. You appreciate the delicate and complex science employed by the masterful hands of those artists we revere most (the Galifianakases, the Odenkirks and Crosses, the Wains, Ian Blacks, Davids, Ferrells, and “CKs”). It’s damn hard to make people laugh. You get that. You. Recognize.

Because I respect your comic sensibilities and our shared devotion to discovering the newest advances in the field, I’ve chosen to focus this week’s piece on “Starf*ckers”, a brand new, unproven, and, I think, prophetic addition to the web series universe. Let me explain.

From the canons of The Lonely Island to “Fred”, the helium-voiced YouTube sensation, the mad dash to develop web content for TV and film has well begun. The Internet is a veritable farm team for next big ideas. Prove your concept online and you’re likely to attract some network looks, maybe even get bumped up to the bigs. Web series, accessible in their production cost and prodigious in their visibility, are suddenly the ultimate talent showcase. One look at “Starf*ckers” is all it takes to know the word is out.

Written and created by web comedy stalwarts Holt Bailey and Brian Steele, starring Kimmy Gatewood and Lost's Neil Hopkins, and produced by Atomic Wedgie TV, a part of the behemoth, American-Idoliscious Fremantle Media conglomerate, “Starf*ckers” is far from a homegrown scribble and shoot. A three-episode show about Jack and Susan, celebrity-obsessed fan-enablers who specialize in getting regular Joes close to their favorite stars, this mother of a web series wreaks of one clear purpose: get noticed, quick, and get on TV. The stunning production quality. The plot-driven dialog. The well-trained actors. The celebrity appearances (Lou Diamond Phillips counts more than Kato Kaelin).

“Starf*ckers” represents a changing web series landscape, one whose players have become aware of their format’s potential and bankability. That’s not to imply that the show’s not funny, because it is. But even if it wasn’t, “Starf*ckers” should be appreciated for its out-of-the-gates awareness, its careful engineering, and its evident hopes. It’s the T-1000 of web series. Now, let’s see how fast it runs.

Got some free time? Three reasons why you should spend it watching:

1. Guy/Girl team
2. Social commentary
3. TV-quality production

Episode #1: Beat The Line

Bridesmaids, 2 Broke Girls, The New Girl. There’s never been a larger focus on producing comedy that attracts a diverse (read: female) demographic. In many cases, Hollywood’s methodical shift toward writing female main characters has made things funnier. In all cases, it’s made them more interesting to watch. “Starf*ckers” is no exception.

Episode #2: Last Resort

Americans love celebrities more than we love…anything else at all. Holt and Steele know this and the “Starf*ckers” premise (its most important TV-pitch element) is rock solid as a result.

Episode #3: Limo Ride

Most web series episodes are shot mediocrely, in a single location. Most have one strong lead actor supporting the rest of a novice cast. Most writing seems freewheeling, if not altogether improv’d. “Starf*ckers” defies all conventions.

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