Charm. Michael Friedman, the creator, producer, writer and lead (Mikey) of The Super Man has infused it into this imperfect, but very likeable new web series. And why wouldn’t he? He’s from Philly, just like me.
With a genuine accent that fits somewhere between New York and Philly that you can’t help but love, Friedman plays a superintendent of an apartment building in Los Angeles, with dreams of becoming a pro boxer. Drawing from real life, the show was inspired by Friedman’s stint as a Super in New York with his high school best friend, Gregory Konow who is also a writer on the show and plays his best friend, Joey, in the series.
“What fascinated me most was the unique relationship the Super has with all of his tenants. The Super knows everyone, sees inside their lives and apartments and is subjected to everyone’s personal gossip whether he’s interested or not,” Friedman tells me. A fact of life that he still deals with today as a manager of a building in Los Angeles, a job that both supports him as he pursues a career in acting and writing and provides fodder and crew for his current show. “My director and editor Adam Finmann is one of my tenants who I met when he moved in. We also show 90% of the show in and around the complex.” As a result there’s an authenticity to the show that seems to elevate it above the pack.
Friedman explains that he has a fascination with the history of boxing, the implication being that he himself is not a boxer. Which is interesting because the boxing moments feel a little less real than the apartment complex scenes and I think the real life experience is what makes the difference. I must admit though the fight in the first episode is very funny and only falters at the very end when they focus on an overzealous boxer (read: homicidal) that Mikey is set to fight in the near future. In fact, despite the button to this ep being lackluster at best, the rest of it is some of the best of the series so far.
The current four episodes of the series are each considered one fourth of a single pilot, which ultimately became a 22-minute show that was an official selection at the ITV Festival last year. The first of these eps is the strongest; the second feels like half-a-show at best, more like a lot of set-up; the third is hit-and-miss, and the fourth has some seriously funny moments, but at almost nine minutes is twice as long as the rest of the episodes and could use some trimming.
So what makes the show worth watching? For one, it has great production value, it feels like a show created by professionals. Friedman plays the part of the congenial put-upon Super, perfectly. In fact, whenever he’s dealing with building issues, the show soars. Konow, as Joey, is also pitch perfect as Friedman’s comic foil constantly complicating Mikey’s life to (mostly) hilarious effect.
There are two more episodes coming out for this season and Friedman and crew are starting production on their new season very soon. Online television networks Strike.tv and Koldcast TV are both in talks about airing the series. My hope and my guess is that since the rest of the shows will be shot as one-offs and not parts of a larger episode, that this sometimes uneven series will become more consistently funny and charming as the episodes get tighter. I also hope that because of Friedman and Konow’s experiences and countless stories as Supers, that the shows will spend more time where they feel more authentic and generally more funny: in the apartment complex dealing with apartment complexities.
So, give this one a shot, sit through the slower moments and just enjoy the boys, the varied cast of characters they encounter and the congenial charm of Friedman’s Super, Mikey, and I think you’ll like what you see, I did…for the most part.