It’s clear that the public has an insatiable appetite for behind-the-scenes peeks at famous people. You can’t twitch your remote finger without hitting some Celebrity RehabFitSurrealHotTub show. But we online video consumers like our celebrity mockery the way we like everything else — hard and fast. We can’t wait for “reality” to heat up on Celebrity Snorkel of Love. We don’t have half an hour for Pottymouthed Cute Female Comedian Program to fictionalize the fun. We need rapid-fire humiliating hilarity. Hence one of the newest online video trends: the self-parodying celeb web series. And the new offering on Crackle, Star-ving, which features Married with Children alum David Faustino, delivers plenty of humiliation. The hilarity, on the other hand, comes and goes.
It’s not that Star-ving isn’t funny. In fact, each episode kicks off with a hilariously brutal recap of the show’s premise, narrated by Faustino — he’s broke, his wife left him for Coolio, his only income is from a porn shop left to him by a fan, his BFF is fellow has-been Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), and he’s freakishly short (“Thanks, God!”). Problem is, the episodes fail to deliver on the lead-in. We don’t see Faustino getting dumped for Coolio. We don’t see the crazed fan willing him the porn shop. Instead, we see Faustino hitting up Ed O’Neill for a load while O’Neill says “f*ck” a lot. It’s funny — who doesn’t want to see Ed O’Neill saying “f*ck” a lot? — but it’s a one-note joke, and once that note is spent, I’m left waiting for the other fun stuff to kick in.
Next week’s episode improves on this week’s, with stellar guest turns by Seth Green and O’Neill and Faustino’s other MwC co-stars, Christina Applegate and Katey Segal. But with Star-ving, even the good stuff goes on a little too long. From the fun bits to the we’re-just-here-for-the-shock-value, envelope-pushing bits (man the word “midget” gets used a lot), this show simply needs a more brutal hand in the editing bay in order to really shine.
Plus, seriously, two episodes with no porn shop shenanigans and the smallest possible glimpse of Coolio? That’s just stingy. (Though Faustino’s amusingly inept attempts at suicide are a fun running gag.)
Crackle, with its unique fusion of original content and established Sony product, is absolutely on the cutting edge of new media. I just wish a little more cutting (and shaping) had gone on with Star-ving.