Kyle and Martin are an LA odd couple. Though roommates and best friends, you quickly get the impression they have a tendency to drive each other up a wall.
Martin (played by Josh McDermitt) is the more straight-laced, quiet buddy who’s a bit shy and not so great with the ladies. Kyle (Lenny Jacobson) is outgoing and despite his unkempt appearance, seemingly does quite well for himself in those social situations where Martin suffers. You could stick a guy like Kyle in a frat party or a high-society dinner and he’d find a way to entertain himself and everyone around.
Thus, it’s no surprise he finds the most amusement playing games with the people close to him – in this case, Martin.
Without any prospects for love in sight, Martin is pushed to start online dating, only Kyle has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep him on his toes. This, in a nutshell, is writer/director RJ Thomas and production shop Deek Media’ first web series, Grande Con Carne.
For what is ostensibly a comedic vehicle, Grande Con Carne didn’t quite keep me in stitches. The show can be clever – like when Kyle toys with the fourth wall – but too much is eminently forgettable. The premise of the alpha roommate messing with the beta roommate’s head isn’t novel and many jokes come off as a level (or two) above frat-boy humor.
In fact, the most noteworthy element of the show is arguably its puerile infatuation with sex and hazing. I’m not so prudish to not find enjoyment in such things, far from it. Rather, I’d appreciate further attempts at high-minded lewdness. I know Thomas is capable.
For instance, the show’s intended audience is clearly straight males and it’s well understood that, intentional or not, we straight men tend to objectify women. This show makes no bones about it and in a tongue-in-cheek (and also deliciously devious) ploy to attract more male page hits, Kyle parades his girlfriend around in her bikini during key moments.
Kyle’s girlfriend, Sarah (played by the delightfully fetching Jules Willcox), is initially hesitant to prance about the house in her unmentionables. It is only when Kyle points out that agents and scouts scour web video for talent is she convinced enough to show off her memorable…um…talents. I will say that Ms. Willcox has some acting skills to go with her looks, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she starts popping up outside this series of tubes.
The acting plaudits can’t all go to the female lead, however, as Jacobson and McDermitt both play their roles superbly, imbuing a limp-ish script with some life.
It’s clear from the knowing, wink-wink nature of the misogyny or the “meta”-filmmaking nods that the involved parties are intelligent, witty folks. I wish a little more time was spent crafting the material on hand because, unfortunately, the smashing features of Jules Willcox alone can’t make up for the lack of consistency elsewhere in the production.
In a final assessment, this show should in no way be considered a total loss and since it’s the first series done by this team there’s no reason why they can’t use it as a stepping-stone to a better end product next time.