Well, then… What can I say about the shiny new web series, Big City, which went live on the “bigcitywebseries” YouTube channel August 20? In true pioneering fashion, it will be the first bit of media I’ve reviewed here at BlogCritics to strike my negative side. I take little pleasure in disliking things I expected to enjoy and this is one of those things.
Big City is a “webisode” series created by actor and writer Lauren Ruff. For the most part, the micro-mini episodes (ranging from two to four minutes in length) star Ruff alongside actor and musician Zane Carney. The two star as New York City apartment mates Josie and Dan, and the web series outlines their lives in the “big city.” It all feels like an attempt at the Seinfeldian manner—making a very big deal out of a little bit of nothing—but falls short of the model’s comedic success. From learning how to yell like a New Yorker to arguing about fast food, the series tackles the most extreme issues of life in a big city. Ahem… Or maybe not so extreme.
Ruff provides the scripts for the show and Carney, the music. Five episodes premiered simultaneously on August 20 on the YouTube channel with no indication of how many more are to come or how often they will be posted. Even a brief journey through Ruff’s Twitter feed revealed little about what can be expected from the future of Big City.
Having endured all five currently available “webisodes,” my assessment is as follows: The acting is mediocre and the writing is forced. The atmosphere implies Dan and Josie are not merely roommates but friends as well, however, the dialog feels like that of two people trying too hard to impress one another, as is the case when the two run into Josie’s former beau, Maximilian (played by singer/songwriter Mat Devine), and his new girlfriend (friend who is a girl?), Elyse (played by the biggest name so far, Madeline Zima). Awkward, forced conversation is to be expected here, but instead it runs through the whole series.
My favorite part of the series, so far, has been the background scenery. And even that, while knowing it is bouncing between Manhattan and Brooklyn, could be Any City, U.S.A. Will I give the sixth episode a fighting chance? I don’t think the odds are in their favor on this one.