Thursday 25th May 2017,
Televisual

NYTVF Dispatch: Doctors, Detectives and Bears, Oh My!

Confession: I prefer my TV comedies packed with more jokes than plot points. 30 Rock is really the only network sitcom I watch religiously, and my favorite comedies of the past ten years include Will & Grace and Sex and the City, which are really more collections of jokes and puns with characters thrown in to say them.

One of the things I like about web humor is its relentless need to entertain viewers with as many gags and antics as possible. Three comedy pilots at NYTVF were crazy enough to keep me engaged — and that’s saying a lot.

OB/GY Anne, which won an award for best writing at the fest, follows Anne Savage, an OB/GYN working in a family practice. A workplace comedy with a cast of inept and insensitive characters, OB/GY Anne is a lighter, more focused Scrubs, centered on the pitiful dating life of its newly-30 protagonist. The series is based in part on a one-woman show, The Three Year Plan: How To Marry a Man in 1,095 Days, written by Debbie Singer, who co-wrote and co-created the series with director Joseph Saroufim. “I have a lot of vagina jokes,” said Singer, who also plays Anne, in a post-screening Q&A. Shot in two days and developed in under six months, the OB/GY Anne pilot had charm and wit.

MID: Murder Investigation Unit is a CSI spoof that reminded me of the cult darling NTSF:SD:SUV (National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle). For an independent pilot working in a difficult genre to spoof on a low-budget, MID delivered a number of laughs and smart gags, my favorite being the show’s dysfunctional strip club.

I’ve already interviewed Vinny Lopez, creator of Two Jasperjohns, the web series that satisfied my desire for a wacky and peculiar show about gay bears in Brooklyn. After the screening, Lopez let us in on his production philosophy: make everything easy. His crew shot most of the episodes in his apartment starting this past February, working on Sundays, because his neighbors blast reggaeton on Saturdays. Asked if he was worried about casting nine, redheaded brothers for the series, Lopez said he wasn’t worried: “I know a lot of redheads…I’ve had no problems with that. If anyone needs any, I’m going to start a casting agency!”


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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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