The more people read this column, the more web series recommendations I get. It's one of the most rewarding parts of the job: readers I've never heard of reaching out, telling me they dig my picks (I always believe them), and then subtly asking me to review their project. This week's recommendation was a little different, because it came from someone I have heard of: Splitsider's very own resident writer, Jesse David Fox.
Naturally when Jesse's Twitter DM flowed into my near-empty Twitter DM box, I took notice. Naturally I clicked the link he included. Naturally I felt a pang of anxiety about breaking the bad news to him should I not want to write about the series he passed along. Lucky for me, him, and you, that conundrum was never realized. Without further ado, I present to you this week's web video pick, Incognito.
Based on two friends who see a murder unfold and are forced into witness protection, Incognito creators Andrew Law and Alison Rich star alongside a host of UCB Theatre staples, including UCB New York Artistic Director Nate Dern as Andrew and Alison's Witness Protection Program liaison. The show artfully reduces a complex concept into a simple procedural where the two leads keep blowing their covers and must take on different cartoonish identities to trick their dim-witted criminal pursuers.
If you'll allow me to wear my studio exec hat for second, I'd say it's Home Alone meets Portlandia meets some amalgamation of all the best parts of Eddie Murphy's disguise tropes. (My studio exec hat has now been removed.) Whatever the hell it is, it's worth checking out, and here's why.
1. Procedural format
2. Character-based comedy
3. Duo premise
Episode #1: The Parents
When we think procedural, we often think TV drama, but it doesn't have to be this way. To fit any potentially complex concept into a smallish box (whether 44 minutes or 5 minutes), consistent episode-to-episode beats give writers a much-needed structure and viewers a comfortable format on which they come to rely.
Episode #2: The Geisha
There's always something funny about caricatures and that's what good comedic character imitations often become. The more original the better.
Episode #3: The Open House
Woman-Woman. Man-Man. Man-Woman. I've said it many times before, but, more likely than not, two funny people (with good chemistry) are better than one.
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