One of the best superstar impressions are normally probably the most correct—when you don’t nail your halted speech patterns, the viewers gained’t notice that’s alleged to be Christopher Walken subbing for the story-time reader. However whereas imitation could be the sincerest type of flattery, it’s hardly the very best or most partaking kind of comedy. Even probably the most entertaining bits work finest in small or sketch-length doses.
So why would James Van Der Beek, in his first foray into showrunning, wish to construct a complete sequence round pretending to be world-famous DJ and file producer Diplo? That’s simply considered one of a number of questions surrounding the premiere of What Would Diplo Do?, Viceland’s first scripted comedy. Regardless of an impressed flip in Don’t Belief The B— In Apt. 23, the Dawson’s Creek alum doesn’t have a big comedy background. He may need performed a extra egotistical model of himself to nice impact reverse Krysten Ritter, however would he have the ability to carry a complete sequence whereas channeling that self-deprecation via another person? And why would Viceland make its scripted comedy debut with untested writers and producers?
All of those considerations would possibly harsh the fake Diplo’s buzz, if he cared about haters, which he swears he doesn’t. However although the premise is a bit skinny, What Would Diplo Do? is surprisingly humorous. It combines parts of extra conventional sitcoms with the semi-autobiographical comedies that stay en vogue—there are teachable moments, however they arrive lengthy after insulting somebody like Calvin Harris. And regardless of airing on a cool-kid outlet like Viceland, a lot of the boundary pushing has to do with the format, in addition to Van Der Beek absolutely breaking out of his meme-ridden, teen-drama picture.
Although there are a handful of producers on deck, together with Diplo himself, a lot of the credit score goes to Van Der Beek. He’s taken nice care in developing the character, going past scanning social media feeds for most-used emojis and hashtags to nail the Tupelo native’s cadences, which the actor described as, oddly sufficient, “half Philly, half Latino” on the Tv Critics Affiliation press tour. However the faithfulness of this “adaptation” is in the end irrelevant—the Main Lazer co-founder’s small-screen actuality is much extra fascinating when it’s free-associating relatively than making an attempt to reply the query within the title.
What Would Diplo Do? can also be a little bit of a self-contradiction, in that its free construction—at TCAs, Van Der Beek and his co-EPs in contrast it to jamming in a storage band—belies the savviness that went into its creation. Dillon Francis performs the totally clueless member of the Mad First rate squad, however is a real-life DJ and music producer, and might attest to only how shut Van Der Beek’s approximation is. However that calculation can simply as shortly get chucked in favor of what Van Der Beek calls a “guerilla” method to producing the present, which additionally fielded pitches from the actual Diplo like, “What if I joined a cult to get my track to primary?”
Although so much hinges on Van Der Beek’s efficiency, the remainder of the ensemble is made up of proficient performers, albeit in apparent roles. There’s a long-suffering assistant (Dora Madison), a put-upon handler (Michael Croner), and an avaricious supervisor (Bobby Lee) who solely weathers the insanity due to the inevitable payday. Collectively, they allow Diplo, who makes outrageous calls for extra out of a lack of information than a way of entitlement. It’s a fantastic line, however Van Der Beek walks it; he acknowledges that Diplo is a person of extraordinary monetary means and expertise, so he makes positive he’s piss-poor in nearly each different respect. Underneath the course of music video vet Brandon Dermer, What Would Diplo Do? humanizes as a lot as satirizes its big-name topic.
Right here’s the place it will get tough—past the Twitter beefs and ass-related crowdfunding, there’s no simply summoned picture of Diplo, which once more, makes it arduous to select traits to intensify or ship up. So the sequence takes purpose on the EDM tradition’s common bro-ishness, which ostensibly spawned the sort of man who would encourage Van Der Beek to select a struggle with Denny’s. Although that’s not almost as pointed of a parody, it does lead to some Police Squad! and The Hotwives Of Orlando-like moments.
That’s in all probability not the excessive reward the present’s creators are hoping for—in reality, Van Der Beek et al. invoked sequence like Louie and movies like This Is Spinal Faucet when pitching the present, whereas admitting these have been lofty ambitions. In that sense, the present’s creators and community show extra self-awareness than their protagonist, to not point out give extra recognition to their inspiration. However whereas they haven’t created something as groundbreaking or enduring as that Louis CK sequence or Christopher Visitor mock rockumentary, the oldsters behind What Would Diplo Do? have spun a strong half- hour comedy out of what might have simply been a sketch (and was an advert). And there’s at all times room for a remix.