Given all the political action this week, it seems Generate picked the right time to launch its entry into the politico-satire race. Republicrats, a 25-episode series debuted on MSN this week. Republicrat cadidate Sean Masterson, a former Fresno TV weatherman, is running for president. One-half Republican, one-half democrat, he’s claiming to be truly the people’s candidate.
The series is created by and stars comedian Sean Masterson, known for creating another Generate-backed series, Home Purchasing Club. There’s basically one running joke in the show which is the candidate’s complete lack of any principled positions. “Opinions divide America,” says Masterson in his speech “That’s why I don’t hold any divisive opinions about anything.” He is “looking to the American people to make every major decision in his campaign,” which means everything from selecting his VP running mate to choosing a First Lady, which viewers can do by submitting their own videos to the MSN site.
In watching him make the publicity rounds, like a recent stop at a local LA morning show, I can’t help but think that Masterson’s candidate feels a bit like Colbert-light. Maybe its because he just doesn’t commit fully to the character, like he’s with us poking fun of the fictional candidate rather than fully immersing himself in him. That said, Steven Colbert set the bar pretty high in this race. It could also be that his lack of any political slant means the humor really isn’t at the expense of either side, making it tread the wimpy middle road of political satire. There are some funny moments so far, and the campaign staff add a little depth to the show. The office mockumentary scenes come off a bit dry at times, again feeling like a copy-of-copy of a format badly overused in web series.
The MSN-exclusive deal means you pretty much have to head to MSN to watch the show, though they have set up a YouTube page if you can handle the lower picture quality. MSN-only also mean YouTube is the only choice for embedding, which from the looks of it hasn’t exactly helped out with its view count. The first episode has a fairly impressive 173k views, but the drop-off in subsequent eps is pretty jarring. There rest are averaging just a few thousand.
At this point, MSN and Generate have yet to confirm any sponsorship deals for the show, though they are looking to sign one as the series progresses. This is another series from Santa Monica-based Generate, which earlier this year landed a $6 Million venture round from Velocity Interactive Group. Really their own breed of web studio, the Jordan Levin-run firm also has a sizable talent management side, repping web heavyweights such as Kathleen Grace (The All-For-Nots (creator) / Dinosaur Diorama), Beth Dover (Ask Anything With Beth and Val), Aaron & Matt (Chad Vader/Blame Society Prod.) and Mather Dickel (Horrible People.) Generate recently announced that their hit series Pink will be back for another season September 16th, which should by then overshadow the waning interest in Republicrats, which fittingly ends November 4th, Election Day 2008.