Summary:

This holiday season, customer service start-up Zendesk is sponsoring a web series all about the importance of good customer service, written and directed by Scotty “Got an Office Job” Iseri. The first episode takes aim at one of web video’s most sacred cows.

merry christmas please hold

It’s time to start getting into the holiday spirit, if the Musak at the grocery store is any indication, but the holiday-themed branded web series Merry Christmas Holidays, Please Hold, launching today, doesn’t start off with any Christmas cheer. Instead, it introduces its Scrooge-like protagonist by taking aim at one of web video’s sacred cows: TED Talks.

Scotty Iseri, who’s chronicled his employment history with the Scotty Got an Office Job series, wrote and directed this 10-episode tale of a customer service consultant learning the true meaning of customer service; future episodes return to a more conventional narrative, but will include slapstick homages to silent films and a musical number sung by an automated phone tree.

The first three episodes will debut by this Friday, with subsequent episodes coming out every other day until Dec. 22. In addition, to tease the series, Iseri has produced a musical trailer that also supports Creative Commons sharing of musical rights; the eclectic cast includes Larry Lessig, Kevin Kelly, Leo Laporte, Cory Doctorow, Mark Fraunfelder, Dick DiBartolo, John Perry Barlow, and Zadi Diaz.

This is the largest project Iseri’s ever done, though as he has a background in theater, long-form scripted content wasn’t something foreign to him. And sponsoring company Zendesk, a customer support startup based in San Francisco, was relatively hands-off about messaging. “They’d rather do something people enjoy watching that has their name attached to it,” Iseri said via phone.

My only real critique would be that the first episode feels a little long — but honestly I feel that way about most TED Talks. It’s a funny, dead-on parody of TED lectures, one that also sets up the show’s protagonist in an intriguing way. Holiday series are hard to pull off, but this is one I’m looking forward to following.

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