Splitsider

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

This Week's Web Series You Need To Watch: I Wanna Have Your Baby

SNL and UCB are two of the most powerful 3-letter acronyms in the New York City comedy scene (behind CFF, “cool funny frogs,” the all-amphibian sketch group I’m trying to get off the ground). Whether you’re an up and comer doing bringer shows or an industry fixture with an IMDB longer than your arm, these two institutions are arguably the most reliable (if not totally foolproof) factories of funny. Dubious? Check out This Week’s Web Series You Need To Watch: I Wanna Have Your Baby.

Written, created by, and starring SNL writer Christine Nangle alongside a host of other SNL/UCB talent including Vanessa Bayer, Gavin Spieller, Will Hines, and Taran Killam, I Wanna Have Your Baby follows Dolores Santangeli (Nangle) on her escapades as a surrogate mother for hire. Born out of a commercial parody Nangle wrote in 2009 while at UCB (check that out here) and repackaged under the nameplate of Lorne Michaels’s production company Broadway Video, the series is a perfect fusion of UCB organics and SNL glitz, not to mention a shrewd new media play on Michaels’s part. The jokes are as creative as anything you’ll see in a top-notch basement sketch show and the presentation (in terms of narrative, story arc, and performances) has indisputable network polish. I Wanna Have Your Baby is the perfect marriage of edgy up-and-comer and seasoned pro and, to my mind, one of a few web series making up Internet video’s vanguard.

It may be a new year, but some things never change…like the number of reasons to watch profiled shows. So, here are three. Check ‘em.

  1. Quick premise establishment
  2. Original jokes
  3. Sketch format with continuity

Episode #1: “Corrine and Jerry”

There are two kinds of pilots. “Man on an island” (audience jumps right into the action and learns the premise as they go) and “day in the life” (audience watches a longer premise setup). On TV and in films, writers have the luxury of exploring both approaches. In web series, that’s not usually the case. Not only do pilots need to get right to it, but every subsequent episode also has to give viewers a premise refresher (or at least present a universally accessible storyline) in order to be successful. Too many shows take too long to get going. Not this one.

Episode #2: “Tim and Tyree”

Hip Hopera. That is all.

Episode #5: “Silky Bibs”

Sketches are great because they get funny fast, but narrative arcs are nice because they help characters develop and build a loyal series following.  I Wanna Have Your Baby does a nice job of staying true to its larger narrative in a punchy, sketchy way. Each episode maintains a clear, unique game while remaining within the bounds of the series’ larger whole.