Pushing Boundaries and Making History
By Sam Davidson
Whether you are a die-hard fan of The Bachelor franchise, a closeted fan, or are forced to watch by your significant other, there is no denying that The Bachelor is one of America’s biggest guilty pleasures. The Bachelor has made a tremendous impact in the world of television for more than a decade and is now being spoofed by some of your favorite stars in a web series. Let me introduce to you one of the most hilarious web series around . . . Burning Love. Created by longtime comedy vet Ben Stiller, Burning Love is a full-on mock of the infamous Bachelor franchise and was first aired on Yahoo TV.
While many viewers watch The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and The Bachelor Pad to see people fall in love, others watch purely for the entertainment value. By “entertainment value,” I really mean drunken tears, sloppy make-out sessions, cat fights, fist fights . . . the list of crazy goes on and on. It is not hard to make fun of this show, and Ben Stiller agrees that this untouched pot of comedy gold must be confronted head-on.
This leads us to the genius masterminds behind the web series Burning Love. Stiller is one of the many viewers of The Bachelor franchise who saw the comedy in it, and wanted to exploit it with fantastic writing, an insanely good cast, and a great director. That director is none other than the star of the first season of Burning Love and comedy icon Ken Marino. Marino has been on the comedy scene for years, but has only been directing for the past few. As it turns out, Marino is much more than a great comedic actor and writer—he is a stellar director as well! Burning Love serves as the ultimate platform for both Stiller and Marino to show the world that they are both comedy gods and are truly jacks of all trades.
Marino is only one of the many stars who take a stab at love in this laugh-out-loud parody. In the first season, Marino plays the bachelor/firefighter Mark Orlando, and his lucky ladies include Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Natasha Leggero, Ken Jeong (yes, the guy from The Hangover), June Diane Raphael, and a short stint from America’s sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston. The second and third seasons of the series have just as many stars including (but not limited to) Michael Cera, Adam Brody, Adam Scott, Nick Kroll, Ryan Hansen, and Paul Scheer. Stiller clearly pulled out all of the stops to get these big-name actors and comedians to jump on board, and let me tell you, they do not disappoint.
Burning Love has not only been nominated for an Emmy, but now you can watch all three seasons! The E! series has made web-series history and has opened up the world to this newer form of media. Typically, web series are limited exclusively to the web; however, now that E! has decided to syndicate the webisodes, it’s a whole new ballgame. Burning Love has opened the door for other web series to expand on the format by broadcasting on network television. It has also proven to the industry that web series are now a force to be reckoned with. Putting aside the fact that Burning Love was created by a huge movie star, it has established that web series can be just as successful as a television series and can draw in just as many viewers on a smaller budget. Also, this little web series that could has proved to stars that a) there is no shame in doing a web series, and b) the time commitment is small, but the reward/fan following potentially be huge!
Will this new form of media make it even harder for big TV networks to make money? Possibly, but it could also help networks begin thinking more outside of the box as opposed to going by the books. Media and entertainment are constantly changing and evolving, and Burning Love is a great example of that. Not only did Burning Love create something very special in terms of comedy and spoofs, but now with its deal with E!, Burning Love has taken web content to a whole new level.
If you missed Burning Love, watch the first episode of Season 1!