I'm really sick and tired of these online series that use the first personal confessional –like Lonelygirl15 and the totally awful Gemini Division with Rosario Dawson — in service of the hokey dramatic trope of overly expository webcam monologues. In the case of Lonelygirl15's fictional over-sharing protagonist, Bree, I suppose it was creatively justified, but with NBC's Gemini Division, it just feels forced, crammed down for the medium and much better suited for radio! There is about as much tension inherent in this kind of gimmicky storytelling as there is in making the audience listen to an answering machine message. A particularly long one at that. And then do it again in the next day's installment. Count me out.
Now there's a new entrant in the genre of "webcam narrative": Web Therapy starring, co-written and co-produced by the brilliant Lisa Kudrow. But Web Therapy as the name might imply, is not another one-sided windbag borefest, it's — hello — actual two-way conversations that purportedly take place in real time (just 3 minutes per session!) over dual webcams between annoying psychologist Dr. Fiona Wallace and her exasperated patients. What a simple, yet clever idea! One that makes sense that it occurs over webcams. The initial episodes of Web Therapy — each co-starring
Bob Balaban Tim Bagley — are terrific viewing, and really hilarious. It's the very first web series where I thought "I'd watch every episode" and that's really saying something. There needs to be more stuff like this. Kudos to Kudrow and her collaborators for this little gem of a show.
(Richard Metzger is a guestblogger)