My first Variety Show post and I’m not even posting about a television show, or at least not a television show in the traditional sense. But, hey, it’s not the 1950s. Great television is no longer confined to a set. There are some ingenious webseries right on your computer.
One of my favorites is The All-for-Nots. This webseries follows the ups and downs of five aspiring indie rock musicians on their disorganized tour across the States. Through its Spinal Tap mockumentary manner, the web sitcom makes fun of the Brooklyn hipster music science. The show, which started last March is now over. Its finale aired September 2008, but the band is still around. A fake band who became a real band? Well, many bands are based on just as false pretenses too. Even though the indie rock medium is one that values authenticity, it doesn’t look like many people care. They got pretty decent size crowds at their concerts last spring in Boston, Rhode Island, and Penn State. The band has also played SXSW and Jimmy Kimmel.
To give the All-for-Nots props, they are true musicians. They were hired not only because of their acting talent but also their musical capabilities. There’s no lip synching and they actually play their instruments. They wrote all the music.
The webseries is definitely worth a watch. There’s about 24 seven-minute episodes online now. The band is formed of: Johnny, the serious philosophical lead singer. The shy unusual drummer Shirley. Caleb, the bad-ass bassist. The keyboardist Paul who must balance a finance and being a lawyer on the road. Farrah, the groupie, who becomes lead female vocalist. Their manager Larry Hu, also joins this motley group and provides many of the upsets on their tour.
It’s not only hilarious, but also the music is enjoyable. The only draw-back is that it is a bit commercialized (Michael Eisner is one of its developers, after all). The show makes it very obvious who its sponsors are: Expedia and Chrylser. But, I like how they are in-your-face about their product placements. Larry Hu, for instance, sings the Expedia.com jingle anytime he references the site—which is often. It’s like they have respect for the viewer by making fun of themselves.
Check them out for yourself: http://www.theallfornots.com/