I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Sometimes, in web series, simple is better. UCBComedy's “How to Make a Situation About You” confirms that hilarity can come out of smart, small ideas. The key to making short pieces successful? Clarity of message.
It’s easier to write a five-minute-per-episode, arc-heavy web opus than it is a sub two-minute idea good enough to have staying power. To be quick and memorable and quality demands a hyper focus on the single salient element of a funny idea, the nugget that cuts through all the fluff to the core of the most illustrative beats. Few attempt simple because it’s risky. It forces creators to stake a claim, to go out on a limb without the security of b-stories or cavalcades of off-game Hail Mary jokes that provide a buffer if the underlying thread doesn’t hit the way writers hoped it would. This week’s web series has none of that nonsense.
Not surprisingly born from the loins of UCB veterans like actress/writer Pamela Murphy (who stars as protagonist Colleen Atwater), SNL writer Chris Kelly (writer), and head of UCBComedy Todd Bieber (Director), “How to Make a Situation About You” is focused in its irreverence, deliberate in its style, and, therefore, wastes no time in delivering the goods. Aside from the infomercial format, which lends itself to steps and lists, both allowing quick cuts to punch lines, (as I’ve mentioned before), the series is clear because it’s relatable and it’s relatable because it’s honest. Who hasn’t fought the urge to monopolize attention in situations that have nothing to do with them? If you haven’t (which I doubt), you know someone who does all the time. That’s the beauty of this piece and why it’s so viscerally attractive.
Watch ‘cause you love and trust me (and for these three reasons).
- 80s infomercial format
Episode #1: How to make a Situation About You: At Someone Else’s Party
It’s so hard to hit it out of the park in under 2 minutes but, if you want more than 1,000 views, it’s usually a harsh necessity. (3 minutes is really the cutoff, but 2, hey, 2 is just great.)
Episode #2: How to make a Situation About You: At Someone Else’s Funeral
Since the humor here is somewhat dry (and all the way awesome), the 80s infomercial format was a smart move. It’ll grab some of the dullards because it’s visually interesting. More important, the low-pro format makes the series easier to pull off cheap (key in the world of low or no budget web video).
Episode #3: How to make a Situation About You: When Your Friend Needs to Talk
People laugh because they understand. They’re more likely to understand if they can imagine themselves or someone they know doing whatever it is they’re watching. There’s no shortage of obnoxious in any of our lives and this show taps into that otherwise unfortunate familiarity.