Last night’s Los Angeles premiere of Easy to Assemble season 2 was everything you would expect in a sophomore debut—bigger, brasher and beaming. For the gawkers on Hollywood Blvd. peering onto the red carpet outside the Egyptian Theater, most probably thought they were scoping out a movie premiere as stars like Keanu Reeves, Kevin Pollack, Justine Bateman and Harry Shearer casually strolled past the check-in tables with cameras flashing.
The new season of the IKEA backed web series, which kicks off today, is a classic season long face-off. Picking up essentially were things left off last season, Illeana Douglas and Justine Bateman both still work at the Burbank IKEA store, playing themselves “in between acting jobs.” The rivalry of the two celeb employees squares off around the coveted Co-worker of the Year title, the retail equivalent of queen bee. It’s a 40 year-old’s Blair vs. Serena.
For the dozens of web video folks at the event, there was a underlying buzz that Hollywood is starting to take notice. It had that blend of celebrity, both online and off, last seen at the Streamy Awards. The fusion on the red carpet of web stars and traditional celebs kept the publicists extra busy, but ultimately scored the event a win in both camps. It was easy to forget this was a premiere for a web series.
Ask a Ninja creators Kent Nichols and Doug Sarine make more than just a cameo midway through the season, playing themselves and eventually making a special pro-Illeana video with the Ninja. Other cast members on hand at the premiere were Tom Arnold, Daryl Sabara, Sean Durrie, Cheri Oteri, Kent Nichols, Michael Irpino (who came in full costume), Todd Spahr and Rob Mailhouse.
All ten episodes of the new season were screened to the 500 or so attendees, including two episodes of the faux-vintage spin-off series Sparhüsen which stars Keanu Reeves as the famed Swedish rock producer Vorste Fierron. Word is that Reeves is on board for more episodes of Sparhüsen and production is set to begin on those next month.
Sparhüsen the band, made up of Douglas, Spahr and Mailhouse and in character, treated the audience to a 4-song set after the screening. Not to end there, they actually went as far as putting out an album of sorts, set to drop in a few weeks on iTunes, with their singles “Apples and Fish” and “Ice Fishing” which won over the crowd. (You can actually listen to some tracks already on Last.fm)
For Easy to Assemble, it’s a wide release of the series, led by My Damn Channel who had signed the series for the new season earlier this summer. CJP Digital which is handling sponsor and distribution for the show, also just locked a deal with The Hotel Networks, putting the show as a VOD offering in 1.9 million hotel rooms in the US and Canada starting in January. Other distribution includes Blip.tv, which will have it pushed wide through its pacts with Verizon FiOS and Roku set-top boxes.
New episodes of Easy to Assemble come out every Thursday through December. A special finale episode will be released after viewers vote to determine who will win Co-Worker of the Year between the two ladies.
Top photo by Todd Williamson, licensed from Getty Images.