David Faustino’s web show, Star-Ving, was worth watching for the opportunity to see the four stars of Married… With Children together again, but otherwise it’s rather awful. A lot of internet-only comedy is what I’d call home movies by Hollywood insiders; they call in favours from their famous friends (that’s how Faustino got his MWC co-stars to come on and say the f-word a lot) and talk about the stuff that fascinates them: being an unemployed actor, not getting residuals, getting screwed out of parts that should rightfully be theirs, and saying stuff that they couldn’t get away with saying on network TV. These obsessions really aren’t very interesting. These shows, for TV or the web, are heavily influenced by Curb Your Enthusiasm, but one of the secrets of Larry David’s success is that he knows enough not to put too much showbiz stuff into his shows, instead focusing on the petty obsessions that self-absorbed people have in any neighbourhood anywhere. If he were just a neurotic annoying rich guy in some other business or some other town, most of the jokes would be the same.
The ultimate Hollywood-insider joke is getting actors to play themselves as selfish, insensitive assholes; that’s how Ed O’Neill acts every time he appears on his ex-TV-son’s internet show. But that’s really just part of the self-love of Hollywood actors: the idea is that they are really wonderful people, but they’re all being good sports by pretending to be horrible or pathetic. This joke wore itself out years ago, and I almost think that for a change of pace, we need a return to the I Love Lucy days where guest stars were portrayed as wonderful, adorable people. At least that would be something we haven’t seen in a while.
As to the question of whether Star-Ving is worse than Scott Baio is 45 and Whatever, that’s a toughie, but I think that Scott Baio was a little less unwatchable. At least that passed itself off as a reality show; Star-Ving‘s bad material is written out in advance.