Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vlog Star: Sister

I'm really excited about how this episode turned out. I feel like a lot of the things I've been trying to achieve in season 3 are starting to really come through. In both scenes here, I feel like the timing and the energy of the performances have a spark that I've found lacking in the past. That is, even when the editing was brisk, there was something draggy or artificial about the performances (mainly mine, but sometimes others, usually because we were rushing to get our footage and not taking the time to rehearse and refine the scenes), and here they feel fresh and spontaneous. The other thing that works well here is the extended improv riffing that we did in multiple takes, which this time were actually usable and cut together pretty nicely. Again, the looseness of these bits results in some of my favorite moments -- in this case, it's everything after Nicole's "compliment" to Nate in the first scene.

Other happy surprises: I think this is the first time the show has had a scene where three characters are bouncing off each other at once, and having Nicole caught in the middle of Nate and Max's escalating nonsensical argument worked really well. What's more, I think we're finally finding something that works for Max. In the first two seasons, Max was a nice guy despite being constantly put-upon, but we failed to get much comedy out of it. In season 3, we decided that Max would be fed up with Nate, and the hostility between them would come to the surface much more. This has given the character a lot more room to breathe, and in this episode and "Overdose," we get good stuff out of it. I'm pleased since, outside of Professor YouTube, we've strained to give Max stuff to do and now I feel like we've found a direction that's interesting.

The other change this season is that we gave ourselves permission to let the show be a little edgier and dirtier. Looking at past episodes it kind of felt like we were holding back and not always letting the show be as funny as it needs to be. We felt like the show could stand to be a little more fucked-up, and I think this comes across in the episodes so far this season ("Makeover," "Overdose," and "Hit Me" all have elements that are weirder and darker than we've done in the past) and continues in the multi-part story launched by this episode.

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