Sometimes I find things on the Internet, some times things on the Internet find me. I’ve been watching Model Wife all evening, a web show about “a normal guy, his supermodel wife, and their two neighbors.” It’s the classic Kevin James scenario, complete with a beautiful woman, two goofy foils, and an average joe. It’s the kind of pitch Chuck Lorre would think up, and maybe that’s the true genius of the series. It has the appearance of familiarity while, under the surface, it’s bat-shit crazy.
Model Wife was created, written and produced by Late Night bloggers Cory Cavin and Josh Lay, and Starbucks squatter Bill Grandberg. The three also star in the series, with the addition of Karme Boixadera. She’s actually a model (which isn’t surprising) and an experienced blogger (which is surprising).
The plots all work like an average sitcom. Straight guy A leaves to run errand B and leaves his wife in the care of inept friends C and D. Sure, it sounds boring, but the whole thing is insanely engaging. I’m not kidding, I just watched the entire series without meaning to.
And I think it’s because the series is oddly sincere. The creative forces behind it want to make it, and that translates into quality content. Now, I know I mentioned earlier that Model Wife had a fine dash of insanity. Many of the jokes land in the absurd, with consequences breaking the reality of the actions that caused them. It’s a pretty big trend in comedy, but one not often performed with such grace.
In my opinion, that grace is a product of authenticity, which I believe is the foundation of any good entertainment. Karme is constantly smoking pink cigaretts, Corey is always blogging, the gang even spends an episode inside a bar where drinks are ordered by using hashtags. They write from a place of honesty, and it shows. Calvin, Lay, and Grandberg use their real lives as material, and that makes the more absurd moments seem graceful and sincere.
Am I thinking too much about this?
Every episode is filled with clever moments, but there are two that struck me as especially clever. The first is in episode 5, where the husband and his neighbor friends help Karme by modeling in a photo shoot. The idea is that they’re posing as gamer nerds, which doesn’t seem far off. The photographer asks them to embody The Big Bang Theory, but none of them have ever seen it. They watch an episode, no one is impressed. I think they’re getting at something here, it’s a comment on America’s obsession with bland television, on a web series that pulls off a bland premise by being totally fucking nuts.
In episode 6, Karme comes to the aid of the neighbors. They’re trying to sell all their stuff on ebay to pay their way to “Fantasy Football Fantasy Camp.” Yeah, it’s a fantasy football camp, where they’d meet famous fantasy football players. It’s a lie of a lie—the whole show is—a purposeful double-photocopy.
I don’t know you guys, it’s late. Just do yourself a favor and watch Model Wife. The whole series begs to be watched in a single sitting, and I promise you it’s worth your time.
Here’s my favorite. It’s episode 4: Assistants.