As a people, we have always looked for new and inventive ways to entertain ourselves; whether it was Silent Film in the 20s, American Bandstand in the 50s, or YouTube in the 21st century. In keeping with this grand tradition I am introducing a new series to Lost in Reviews called Lost in the Web. Lost in the Web will highlight different Internet television series that are floating around waiting for the viewing public to discover them.
Now I will fore-warn you that the first time you see a webisode you may find yourself feeling slightly disoriented because most web series are produced on a budget that is a little higher than your average high school play; ok so maybe a well funded private school play but not by much. So give yourself some time to assimilate to the look and feel of the series. Um 30 seconds or so should do it. Hey what do you want from me? Your average length for one of these is 6 to 7 minutes so it’s not like you have a lot of time to get over any preconceived notions you may have about quality entertainment. Trust me once you do get past them it will be worth it.
For the first installment in this series I have chosen Backwash an original comedy created by Joshua Malina (The West Wing) and directed by Danny Leiner (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle). Originally intended as comic material, the series ended up on the Sony owned website Crackle as a 13 episode series. Given the often low production value of a web series Backwash earns high marks for embracing the absurdity and allowing for the main characters Jonesy, played by Michael Panes, and Val the freedom to jump off the proverbial goofball cliff. The “special” guest stars who narrate each episode fully embrace their reason for being there which is as caricature’s of their real selves, no more no less. The writing is sharp and the acting, although a bit over the top at times, fits right in with the series itself which is about one man who is obsessed with getting a toaster, another who accidentally robs a bank with a meat stick, and an ice cream truck driver who helps them escape from the cops. You can check out the first season at Crackle/Backwash.
When trying to pick out my favorite webisode of the series my first reaction was “Meat Snack” which sets up the remaining 11 episodes and puts the characters in to the out side world. But then I got to thinking about Michael Ian Black’s performance as Nick Fleming in webisode 6 titled “Number Nine” that was so damn funny that well you would have to see it to understand. Of course there was also the show tune singing Sgt. Benjamin Belter and two time Academy Award attendee John Cho giving the director points on how to be a better male exotic dancer. With all these comedic goodies to feast on how could I possibly pick one episode that ties it all together? The answer is I can’t. Nope I refuse to pick just one. Man it will suck if they don’t make more webisodes of this series.
Until next time,