Show of the Day: Secret Girlfriend

28 Oct

I’ve made mention before about how most Comedy Central shows fail within the first year.  Of course, part of this is because most of them are terrible; it would be giving short shrift to that fact to blame it all on Comedy Central having a quick trigger finger.  Their general terrible-ness has however, not prevented me from at least giving many of these shows a shot.

One of the more unique shows in this parade of one season cancellations was 2009-10s Secret Girlfriend.  Based on a pre-existing web series, the great gimmick of the show is that YOU are the main character.  What this means is that the camera is oriented as if you are walking around, looking at your surroundings, swinging up and down, left and right as different things get your attention.  You hang out with your two friends, Sam and Phil, who converse with you even though you can’t hear your responses.  They’re good friends, but boneheads and over the course of the series they explain to you their different hare-brained schemes and the web videos that they make.  You’re also a bit of a ladies’ man, and in the first episode you meet Jessica, the title “Secret Girlfriend” who has a boyfriend at the time, but with whom you eventually develop a relationship over the short course of the series.  The fourth and final main character (well fifth including YOU) is your crazy ex-girlfriend Mandy who breaks up with you in the first episode but still follows you around and is jealous of any girl who comes near you.

Sadly, the show is not very good.  I’m not sure whether that is simply because the camera format is too limiting or that it could be done well but wasn’t.  Each episode is composed of two 11-minute segments; the show might have been better suited to Adult Swim where short-format shows like Childrens Hospital and Eagleheart make their home.

The show is extremely crude and one of the main reasons for the camera style seems to be to allow the camera to focus on hot chicks.  Basically every female character in the show seems to be in love with you and you’re constantly have sex with them.  I’m not sure exactly sure what the comedic value there is.  The best moment in the series may be in the second episode when the characters go to a strip club, but find the food far more alluring than the strippers.  Crudeness can certainly be funny; Workaholics has done a fine job of showing that on a couple of occasions.  Too often, Secret Girlfriend doesn’t make it work however.  It doesn’t seem like there’s enough substance to justify expanding a shorter web series into a television show here.

In a world of rehashes, procedural police shows and tired old family sitcoms, it’s oddly refreshing to see a failed show that at least tried something new and interesting.  I’ll always have more respect for a show that takes a real shot and fails than one that doesn’t even try.

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2 Responses to “Show of the Day: Secret Girlfriend”

  1. Lee November 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I think a good version of this idea is the british “Peep Show” which I have recommended on several occasions. Actually when I first saw this, I thought they were trying an american port. Not the case as it turns out, but if you haven’t watched Peep Show yet, do it now.

  2. Beardface November 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Ha- I had already completely forgotten about this show even though it was only a couple years ago and I saw the first episode or two.

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