Making semi-irregular episodes since June 2006, The Burg pokes fun at its cast and their lifestyle in the hipster suburb of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Writers Thom Woodley (self-described writer/filmmaker/musician/playwright) and Matt Yeager (actor/writer) lead their cast of friends and neighbors into the online non-adventures of their satirical character’s lives (each of whom has their own fictional MySpace pages). To summarize, the website says it better than I ever could: “You’ll like it because at least it’s not re-packaged broadcast TV or home videos of skateboarding dogs being kicked in the balls.” And if the names Galapagos, Pete’s Candy Store, and North Six ring a bell, you’re sure to be at least mildly amused.
With humor that’s sometimes stale and sometimes hilariously on target, The Burg and its Friends-redux cast fumble through their ironic lives ironically. The acting is surprisingly good on the whole, featuring experienced actors with careers in TV and off-Broadway productions on its low-budget (probably no-budget) sets (actors’ apartments). Wonderfully edited episodes, with appropriate music, vary in length from 5 to 20 minutes and range in subject matter from trying to find a bar not packed with NYU kids to corporate greed and fair trade. Each character is a pathetic satire of a Williamsburg hipster, but threaded through the episodes are occasional touching moments that change the tone of the show from irony (which at times can get boring) to a dramatic comedy (which is entertaining).
Some episodes can drag, but the fourth episode, “Project,” really shows a shift towards increased quality of humor, acting, and character depth. It also has some of the funniest moments of the whole series (“Do you know who Mohammed Ali is?”).