Web shows: the new face of entertainment

Recently, I have been watching a variety of web shows, simply because word has spread, and I am intrigued by this newer form of entertainment. Web shows aren't really new--they've been around for more than ten years--but in comparison to television and film, I feel as though they are the "babies" in entertainment.

One web series in particular caught my attention. Web Therapy, starring Lisa Kudrow, grabbed my interest simply because it stars Lisa Kudrow. I have always thought she is an amazing actress, and this series only showcases how talented she is, and how versatile she is as an actress. The dry, witty sense of humor that is featured in this web series is very intriguing, and Kudrow's character is absolutely hysterical. 

This show is set up in a way that catches the audience's attention instantly. It is an unusual format, but it works. The very first scene in the first episode shows Lisa's characters, Fiona Wallice, and her husband, Kip, having a "practice" therapy session, so he can see what her web therapy is all about. He seems unenthused and disinterested, but he obliges. We see two screens: Fiona is looking into her laptop, and her husband is looking into his. They are video chatting. She makes him use his laptop, even though they are sitting right next to each other. Hence, the name "web" therapy. In this scene, Fiona asks him a few basic questions, but then the two end up discussing their own problems in their marriage and overall relationship. The pained look on her husband's face is priceless, and the issues they discuss are extremely humorous. Fiona then says his time is up (only three minutes per session!) and she returns to reality. Her attitude is completely normal, yet her husband looks exhausted, and he takes his pained expression with him as he leaves for work. 

This web series is in a format that allows the audience to learn a lot about the characters very quickly. The episodes only range from about five to ten minutes each, but in that time we feel as if we know these characters very well. We learn about their deepest problems and feelings in only a few minutes, and then Fiona tells them that their time is up, and we are in suspense until next time. During each episode, all we see is the characters' faces in their laptop screens--there is no movement, their location doesn't change much, and they are seated for the duration of the episode. However, the dialogue is so intriguing, that it carries the entire show along. We don't care that we just see Fiona and whoever she is giving "therapy" to--all we care about is what they are talking about. What ridiculous thing will Fiona say next? Will Kip continue to be in denial about his relationship with Fiona? We are hooked on their dialogue alone, and that is an amazing thing. Very few shows can pull that off. 

Despite Fiona's insanity, the characters trust her with their deepest emotions. That is why we know so much about them. They just blurt out whatever comes to mind, and they are brutally honest. In one of the episodes, Fiona has a therapy session with Jerome, who tells her about his relationship with his fiancรฉe, who he has just discovered is actually his half sister. Fiona takes this information very lightly, and as we watch with sympathy for Jerome, Fiona criticizes him for considering talking to a therapist who specializes in psychosexual problems. We are baffled as Jerome takes her words seriously. Everyone seems to sincerely take her advice, even though what she says is usually absurd. For some reason, this is what makes Fiona a lovable character. We get annoyed by her, yet we still love her. She is terrible at being a therapist, yet for the audience, this is a good quality. 

The episode length is perfect for this web series. We get the perfect snippet of humor and sarcasm that we need, and then the episode is over, and we click to watch the next one. This show is not something that is overly drawn out. For a few minutes, we are fully immersed in the lives of the people in Fiona's therapy sessions, and it's just enough to distract us from our own reality. If a show can make an audience forget themselves and forget about their lives for a little while, then it has succeeded, and this series definitely does that.

Web Therapy is just one of many web shows, but I think it really showcases the best aspects of this kind of entertainment. Here is a list of some other shows that are definitely worth watching:

  • Boys Will Be Girls
  • Girls Will Be Boys
  • Sam has 7 friends
  • Gaytown
  • Foreign Body
  • Prom Queen
  • Kate Modern
  • 5-Second Films