For the sake of relationships in and around the University of Texas, it’s a good thing that ‘The Wingmen’ are no longer on the air.
The fictitious trio of love gurus – ladies’ man Zach, temperate Jordan, and romantic Chris – hosted a college radio program in which they dispensed invaluable Deary Abby advice like, “find little ways to disappoint her and if you make a point of, everyday, doing one thing to make her sad…her expectations will drop to the ground.” Their knowledge of women was suspect, but their radio show was award-winning, so they became the subject of a made-for-the-web mockumentary, The Wingmen.
Created by a handful of UT students and inspired by real-life events (part of the crew actually did have a real college radio program, but after one semester and roughly two listeners, weren’t welcomed back into the booth), the show chronicles the compounding misfortune of this crack team of romance “experts.”
Their call-in radio show gets the boot after Chris gets dumped on air, screams a series of expletives that would make Bill O’Reilly blush, and receives a hefty indecency fine from the FCC. The crafty kids then start an online dating service to raise some cash and it’s all captured through the lens of wannabe “documentarian” Marshall Rimmer.
The Internet has seen it’s fair share of mockumentaries, the genre popularized by Rob Reiner’s Spinal Tap and brought to us weekly by The Office. And that makes sense. Folks producing fiction for the web are often strapped for cash, and the easiest way to deal with low-budget production value is to make that part of the appeal.
Despite the ubiquity of psuedo-docs, The Wingmen manages to stand out, even amongst higher-budget productions like Unflinching Triumph or The All-For-Nots. This is not only a result of the chemistry and raw talent of the cast, but also that the production teams clearly has a deep understanding of the “these go to eleven” artform.
They create scenarios that are absurd but not unrealistic and they know when to kill a joke. But perhaps what stands out most is the organic feeling of the show. Acknowledging the production itself, almost every character has a fleeting fascination with the boom mic and some even converse with the sound girl. But they don’t rely on self-reference for too many laughs. The comedy is in the characters. Their making it to the finals of the On Networks Greenlight Awards is proof of the show’s quality.
Three episodes of The Wingmen are availabe and a fourth has been shot. I can’t wait.
Josh caught up with the Casanovas at SXSW to chat about the series, the FCC, getting naked on the internet, and tango dancing: