In this age of big-time celebrities dominating web video, what’s a YouTube old-timer to do with his or her massive fanbase and years of video-making experience? Team up with their fellow vloggers for their own comedy channel, I guess. Hence, The Station, a comedy collective consisting of the exceedingly popular Sxephil, Shane Dawson, LisaNova, Davedays, ShayCarl, KassemG, WhatadayDerek, Thedbonski and Rawn. Do you recognize at least four of the names on that list? Then this show is probably for you.
The Station had an innovative launch — LisaNova using her Affirmation Girl character to lead into the apocalypse-themed Zombies Take Over YouTube, a sketch featuring the cast along with special guest stars Michael Buckley and iJustine. However, the video is misleading, in that The Station is not actually a web series about the apocalypse, but instead a series of unconnected sketches featuring — so far — either lots of violence or lots of boobs.
Of those involved, LisaNova is probably the only one who shows any ability to play characters beyond her online persona, and thus far she dominates the cast, along with Sxephil, who seems to take a leadership role. So far, they’ve released two sketches: Fantasy Goes Wrong, in which a fictionalized version of a Station brainstorming session gets messy, and Adopt a Hot Chick With Randy and Janet, in which a wife, frustrated with her husband’s lack of sex drive, brings home a hot chick to tease him.
The latter isn’t exactly ground-breaking, and the former is just blatant self-parody made ridiculous when you consider that it was the first video they released. But both have been extremely popular: Fantasy is close to a million views after five days, and Adopt a Hot Chick cleared 220,000 in its first day of release.
I don’t WANT to call The Station the very definition of pandering to one’s audience, but this is a group of people who know exactly who they’re making videos for, and how to get their attention and tailor content to their interests. The content is of average production quality, and there’s no real effort to engage new viewers (newcomers to the vlog scene will especially be mystified by Fantasy Goes Wrong!, which is full of inside jokes about the assembled cast), but no matter. With a YouTube partnership deal, guest appearances by other famous weblebrities, heavy use of annotations and response videos, and lots of boobs in the thumbnails, all in service to the almighty viewcount, The Station’s crew knows they’ve got all they need. It’s the G.I. Joe of web video content — critic-proof.