The new web series Being Eddie Black, from Byron Hord of BEB Productions, created by R. Byron Hord and Devon K. Shepard, follows Eddie (played by Casey Washington) as he receives a promotion from the mail room into big-time corporate advertising at the Homogeny agency. Surprisingly enough, Eddie meets a diverse group of co-workers at the agency who are determined to fit the mold created by ridiculous corporate policy.
Eddie’s bosses, Peter Rosenbaum and Kathy Harrigan, are nightmarish creatures reminiscent of Bill Lumberg in Office Space. They take pleasure in sticking it to their employees on technicalities and rules, and the customer is always king, no matter how lame the customer might be. In Eddie’s case the customer won’t trust a black man without a mustache. Luckily for Eddie, viewers advised Eddie not to shave his ‘stache even after a black co-worker told him he’d be less scary without it.
It’s this kind of race-based, but fun-spirited humor that makes Eddie Black work. That, and the fact that the audience gets to decide Eddie’s fate—so anyone offended by the show can’t really blame the writing team. At the end of each episode, viewers are asked to vote on key issues currently affecting Eddie’s career. In addition to the burning question of Eddie’s mustache, viewers were asked to decide if Eddie should tell his customer that their lame rap song was lame, or if he should work with wet-blanket co-worker Jen Roberts.
Show creator Byron Hord says that there are definitely parts of the show that may fall victim to common stereotypes, but that they have a basis in truth. “The dualities of corporate life (and home life) are triply true for minority professionals. Besides our cultures and customs not being mainstream, our skin color lacks that distinction as well.”
Hord has found that he’s struck a chord with his viewers when it comes to the format of the show. “They love it,” Hord says of the choice aspect of the show. “What’s weird, though, and this shows how cynical I am, this actually worked. People voted, and really feel that they’re a part of Eddie Black’s life. To see people really caring about a character on a web series was great and also helped me realize the power of interactivity.”
Viewers will continue to have a say in Eddie’s perilous journey climbing the corporate ladder in the thirteen episode series. Byron says that if you like the series, make sure to continue to “help Eddie!”