00BAMA on Atom is pretty much what you expect; a web series about our 44th president moonlighting as a secret agent. Where SNL has failed in stretching sketches into feature length movies, 00BAMA seems to have succeeded at turning a pun into a simple, slick, and fun web series. It was a refreshing choice by the talented writer / director Todd Berger to mimic high-end action movie like the Jason Bourne franchise. Most web series that ironically embrace shoddy production and ultimately collapse under the weight of their self-indulgence. Speaking of self-indulgence, how ‘bout that last sentence?
Episode one (episode one) is a great example of how Berger maximizes the premise of the series. A simple interrogation scene of a would-be terrorist lets the audience see the 00Bama character in action with out much plot getting in way. Consequently, the two subsequent episodes suffer a bit because of a too much plot. You see, honeymoon’s work because the plot is simple, two happy people having lots of sex over and over again. Fifty percent of marriages don’t work because the plot is too complicated, two unhappy people having to have lots of sex with the same person… over and over again.
James Jolly plays 00Bama like present-day populist Obama. He doesn’t have a definite take on the character and plays it too much down the middle. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, just not as dynamic as campaign Obama who had a much clearer vision and direction.
The jokes and tone are smart with out being ‘precious.’ For ardent Obama supporters, like myself, it’s almost a bit of wish fulfillment to see our President be so decisive and action oriented. Maybe this series is a meta-comment on Obama’s internal frustration at his own inabilities to be more aggressive. Maybe I just failed at trying to write a Malcolm Gladwell-esque sentence?
The most distracting thing that takes a bit more suspension of disbelief that I thought is the notion of a President doing anything undercover. It would be fun to see a gigantic press pool covering the President trying to go infiltrate a Tea Party rally. Or the Secret Service being their obtrusive selves as 00Bama tries to be secretive.
And now for a very puny, yet sincere, summation… 00BAMA gets my vote.