Last August, we took a look at Call Center Series, a comedy that puts the spotlight on a group of “tracking specialists,” i.e. customer support and sales. At the time, creators created by Reagan Peterson, Galen Carter-Jeffrey, and Barbara Clark along with WPFG Studios had only released 3 of 13 episodes. Though a tough critic of web series mockumentaries, I enjoyed those three episodes. Now, all 13 episodes of the show have been released. Here are my final thoughts.
First, the good: The characters in Call Center are still very compelling and it is hard not to sympathize with their plight as they field phone calls from irate racists and sex-charged southerners. Actor Luke McClory really shines in this web series as Tommy, a sarcastic but honest worker-drone who is to Call Center what Ron Livingston is to Office Space. Still, it is actor Adrienne Harrell who steals the show as 72-year-old Jo-Ann, a former English teacher turned customer support rep. Her nonchalance and blatant disregard for customer care puts her at the top of my funny list.
However, the show isn’t perfect.
Call Center has a few continuity issues. At the beginning of the show in the company breakroom, actor Jean-Paul Daemen (Darren) has a goatee. Two episodes later, presumably the same day, the tracking specialist is clean-shaven, only to have the facial hair reappear in episode 7. One episode, titled “Valentine’s Day,” seems to indicate, alongside wardrobe changes, that time goes by between episodes but the audience is never told this. As a result, we are left wondering when in the show we are. While switching days isn’t a problem per se, if something changes with our characters we need to know why. If Ryan in The Office shaves his beard, or Michael grows one, the audience is told why.
Another continuity issue is the presence of bleeps for expletives. Sometimes they’re used (Episodes 8 and 11), sometimes they’re not (Episode 10). Bleep the swear words or don’t, but don’t do both; it’s distracting. Next, story arcs hinted at early on—such as when Tommy is scheduled for an evaluation meeting with the company Vice President, Mark (John Handem), are never fleshed out and left me puzzled. What happened at that meeting anyway? I watched the episodes again but maybe I missed it.
In future seasons, the writers need to focus on specific arcs for their characters. By the 13th episode, those arcs finally start to take shape, but a bit too late. Here’s hoping for a second season.
Photo by H.Cherdon Bedford.