The long awaited HBO Lab series, Hooking Up, which draws on YouTube’s most subscribed personalities, has finally arrived.

The first episode finds the lovely Meg Henley (played by Jessica Rose, original star of LonelyGirl15) pining away for Nick Fisher (played by sXePhil, a guy famous for shaving his head) through a succession of flubbed pings on the fake campus of Bask University.

Hooking Up‘s claim to fame is that it’s enlisted the “talents” of YouTube’s biggest names – some serious actors (like Rose), others not so much (like KevJumba, Nalts, Michael Buckley). So, what happens when you test the thespian instincts of talking-head vloggers? Take a look:

I don’t think this is a show meant to be played to the college demographic, at least I hope not. Instead, perhaps this hyper-kitschy version of college is simply a lens through which to exploit the oddities of electronic interaction.

Either way, it’s too soon to tell whether this sillyness of digital-aged miscommunication will lead to an entertaining payoff. Others aren’t nearly as optimistic.

The series is the brainchild of Woody Tondorf, who is employed full-time by HBO Lab to “experiment in the digital media space.” I have long anticipated the rise of internet media to lead to experimentation with the old studio system in which creatives are bound to a particular brand. HBO Lab, which aims to create most if not all of its content in-house, will be a true test of that model in the emerging distribution paradigm.

I sat down with Woody to discuss HBO Lab, Hooking Up, and how his work (and play) informs the bigger picture at HBO…

Catch weekly episodes of Woody’s latest series and explore the world of Bask University at www.HookingUpTheShow.com.

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