Wednesday, September 5, 2012

3 shrt pgrphs: Burning Love

2012 - Yahoo! Screen

It amuses me to think that there might be, somewhere, a group of people who mistake this easy, yet hilarious riff on The Bachelor and its ilk as, well, earnest somehow.  Of course it's satire status should be evident to most when Ben Stiller appears early in the first episode.  Reality TV is such an easy target to mock, because it is, at its core, absurd in its "reality".

For a TV show or movie or comic book or web series to ape reality TV for laughs or a quick premise threatens to be overplayed, but there's still room for fun, if not exactly fresh parodies to break through. Featuring a who's who (and "who's that!") of B-list celebrities, (but A-list comedic actors) like Michael Ian Black, Janet Varney, Natasha Leggaro, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino, Carla Gallo, Ken Jeong, Kristen Bell, and many many more, Burning Love could easily coast on its easy set-up and gifted improvisational actors, but it replicates the Bachelor so faithfully that it manages to continuously be funny by underplaying the absurdity of reality-TV dating as much as it overplays it.

Each episode is a tightly packed 8 minutes, across  14 episodes, which makes you think that if the Bachelor were equally condensed into a movie run-time and smartly edited it would be just as funny, though unintentionally so.  The series is breezy, not overstaying its welcome, with comedy always being center focus.  Every actor brings it, reigning in their performances and playing it as straight as possible in spite of their broad and ridiculous personalities.  It's a quick, fun ride which fans of comedy will enjoy but actual viewers of reality TV may get even more out of it.