LonsTV looked at a little something different this week with Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, an off-kilter comedy series that debuted last October on YouTube.
The show takes place in the aftermath of subdued, deadpan Malik (Alec Stephens III) and his child-like roommate Rigo’s (Mike Navarro-O’Brien) ill-fated decision to sublet a room in their apartment. Okay, it’s not really a room, it’s more of a bare space in the corner. But that doesn’t stop them from promising the sublet to not one, but two eager professional women, the fastidious and impatient Emily (Isis King) and loopy free spirit Lindsay (Lindsay Hicks).
The six episodes of the show’s first season find Rigo and Malik essentially hanging around the apartment while Emily and Lindsay scheme to get either their worldly possessions or their first and last month’s deposit back.
Though episodes are credited to writer Nick Blake, the dialogue has an improvisational feel to it, with characters chatting casually rather than building towards big plot points or punchlines. Conversations sort of travel around in circles, and a lot of the dialogue has an aimless sort of feel. Major and even minor plot points tend to get repeated a lot.
Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing (though it can be frustrating when you keep getting set up for one-liners only to not hear any). At times, I was reminded of the mumblecore films of directors like Andrew Bujalski, that aim for capturing the rhythms of daily life and idle chit chat rather than weighty themes and high-concept narratives.
It can be hard to reconcile some of Lindsay’s more zany shenanigans with the show’s naturalistic tone, but Hicks is funny enough to pull it off. Most of the time.
Oh, and the theme song, “Something Awesome,” is really, really great. Like, arguably the winner for Best Web Series Theme Song Of the Moment, if they gave awards for stuff like that.