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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled emSecret Girlfriend/em, Episode 101
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[Secret Girlfriend debuts tonight on Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m. EST/9:30 p.m. CST]


What's the deal, Comedy Central? Are things really so bad that you desperately need this ratings-bating something-or-other?

Those without much time, here's the super quick rundown:

Like looking at hot ladies in underwear? Like listening to guys talk about stroking their dicks? Like this video, but thought it had just a little too much humor? (Probably NSFW, unless you work at a blowjob factory).

Then this show is for you.

Everyone else:

Secret Girlfriend is shot from the first-person perspective, meaning the characters on screen talk to the camera, and your "character" never speaks. You've just been dumped by a brunette who seems a bit off her rocker—lots of texting even after the fact—and your buddies couldn't be happier. They're played by two affable-enough dudes who each bring about half of one Jack Black personality. In the first episode, the guys bring you out to celebrate your new-found freedom, and you run into this really sweet girl at a liquor store. She wants to date you; but, as it turns out, your ex still wants in.

Episodes play out like this: Your ex does something crazy (uses the spare key to show up unexpectedly), but insists it's all good cuz you're in a relationship. Your friends, in the midst of shooting ridiculous viral videos where one gets hit in the head with a fork or toaster, counsel you to get away as fast as you can. Then the new girl texts you, and you go meet up with her to talk about, well, whatever. Nothing, really. Or play kickball. Then your ex texts you, and you leave to go be with her. Then your friends text you, and you go be with them. New girl. Ex. Friends. Text. Insert numerous gratuitous shots of you scoping out girls on the way to/from these meet-ups—and them eyeing you back seductively, because clearly you are "the man"—and call it a show.

Well, that's the problem. Secret Girlfriend is hardly a comedy show; hardly a "show" for that matter. There's little-to-no plot, and jokes about characters are always sacrificed for jokes about dongs. (One friend: "Why is your dick out to check your email?" Other friend: "Your move.") It's also not quite clear what the first-person perspective brings to Secret Girlfriend. Is it meant to engage people in the action? I don't get that sense. Everything on the show, like dressing up one of the friends as a baby for a video, feels like a distraction. And if the perspective was meant to poke fun at our web cam-obsessed culture, you'd think the show would spend a bit more time in one spot before moving on.

Secret Girlfriend is like what Entourage would be if there were even less plot—yeah, hard to believe, I know. It takes TV back to it's base: a platform for moving images with sound, nothing more.

It's a disappointing move for Comedy Central for sure. What I love about the network is its commitment to shows with devoted, niche audiences. I wasn't wild about Important Things With Demetri Martin, but bravo for giving a weird show a shot. Same for Michael And Michael Have Issues, except for the "wild about" part—I loved MMHI, and it seems the show only grew in popularity as time went on. But Secret Girlfriend plays to a wide audience base (of boys). And it seems to prove the old adage: If you try to please everybody, you please nobody.


Grade: F

Stray observations:

  • You know, the least realistic part of the show is not that every girl finds you attractive or that every girl is attractive herself. It's that you talk to your friends on Skype videochat multiple times a day, when they live in the same city as you.

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