When former Disney executive and current online video production company executive Michael Eisner began pushing Prom Queen, his studio‘s new online show revolving around unusual events that occur as a group of high school seniors get ready for prom, it made major news. Not only was it one of the most well-funded ventures into online video, but it was well-connected, partnered with MySpace, Verizon’s Vcast, and this summer’s remake of Hairspray.
But the show is now reaching the halfway mark in its 80-episode run and Mediaweek reported yesterday that it’s gotten 5.2 million views (averaging 200,000 each day) in the past 40 days. That’s not shabby by any means, but since the series relies heavily on tropes and cliffhangers that are more than a little reminiscent of Lonelygirl15, it’s worth noting that some episodes of Lonelygirl15 get over a million views each. And they make that on a webcam and a camcorder.
Maybe that’s just it. It’s certainly a success, but it’s not Lonelygirl15, when it really wanted to be the glossy high end production that Lonelygirl15 would have been had MTV picked it up. The style is the same: overdose of characters, brief (90 second!) episodes, the prettiest young actors that a $100,000 budget can buy without resorting to Craigslist, and an emphasis on sexual encounters rather than storylines.
What with the MySpace tie-ins and main character Danica running around a high school filming an improbably amount of jocks and girls too hot to be cheerleaders, it’s clear that the show is aimed at a young crowd. But even kids see through obvious marketing attempts. This show, while providing sets, costumes, cinematography, snappy editing, music, and sex, doesn’t hold a candle to Lonelygirl15, which at least does us the favor of treating its audience like adults with a storyline that isn’t trickled out between locker room blowjobs and MILF “subplots.” That’s my explanation for why Lonelygirl15 reaches 800,000 more viewers, at least.