Online spoof of ‘The Bachelor’ next tears down ‘Bachelor Pad’
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2013 4:24PM
Ken Marino and June Diane Raphael, who played the bachelor (Mark) and the bachelorette (Julie) in "Burning Love" seasons 1 and 2, respectively. Both are back for season 3 in "Burning Down the House." Marino also directs all episodes.
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:12AM
The bad news (depending on how you look at it): “Bachelor Pad” won’t be back on TV this summer.
The good news: a far more entertaining show that spoofs the ABC series starts Friday.
“Burning Down the House” debuts on Yahoo’s video content hub, Yahoo Screen, where a new 13-minute episode will be released online Monday through Friday over the next two weeks.
Executive produced by Ben Stiller, “Burning Down the House” marks the third installment of the hilarious Web series “Burning Love,” a rollicking riff on “The Bachelor” franchise. It pokes fun at every part of the “reality” romance competition, from its absurd premise and format to its racially homogeneous cast and the candle-filled confines where they live.
It comes from the husband-and-wife team of Ken Marino and Erica Oyama, who’ve just been hired to adapt the bestseller “Go the F to Sleep” into a movie for Fox 2000. For “Burning Love,” she writes, he directs. Marino also stars in season one as Mark Orlando, a hunky, often shirtless firefighter searching for his soulmate in a mansion full of nutjobs. Oyama appears briefly in the premiere as the contestant who steps out of the limo, throws up and gets sent home immediately.
Oyama got hooked on “The Bachelor” in 2007 during Brad Womack’s season, when Brad made “Bachelor” history by famously rejecting all of the bachelorettes.
“We’d just had our first child, so I was in a place where I needed to watch some mindless, happy entertainment,” said Oyama, an Alabama native whose writing credits include another hysterical spoof, Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital,” co-starring Marino.
Oyama pulled her husband onto “The Bachelor” fan wagon in 2010, during Jake Pavelka’s season. The couple watched the final episode with their friends Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”) and his wife, Naomi.
“They were wearing suits, we were wearing dresses,” Oyama said. “I smeared mascara on my face like I’d been crying. We had champagne and they brought us roses. We were really into it.”
That episode — where Jake outraged America by picking evil Vienna over sweet Tenley — inspired Oyama to write a short sketch satirizing the show’s final rose ceremony.
“We were thinking we could shoot this for the Web and maybe it would be a viral-type thing,” she said. “Ken was like, ‘Wait, we could actually do a whole season and explore the other characters and stereotypes.’”
A sizzle reel turned into a Web series — with a cameo by Pavelka — and made the leap to television earlier this year. Cable network E! picked up season one of “Burning Love,” whose half-hour finale aired Monday.
Yahoo launched season two on Valentine’s Day. It features season one reject Julie (June Diane Raphael) as “The Bachelorette,” sifting through a slew of suitors that include Simon (Rob Huebel), a spoiled prince parading around in a Burger King-like crown, and Alex (Joe Lo Truglio), a weepy single dad who hops out of the limo and onto a tricycle. Luxury lifestyle consultant Allison (Colin Hanks) arrives by helicopter and is the only one in the house who doesn’t pronounce espresso with an “x.” “Veronica Mars” actor Ryan Hansen plays disinterested bad boy Blake, inspired by real-life “Bachelorette” contestant Bentley from Ashley Hebert’s season.
The entire second season can be watched online at screen.yahoo.com/burning-love. No word yet on whether it will air on E! Season three kicks off with a trio of 13-minute episodes that drop Friday on Yahoo. The final two of the 14-episode series will be released April 26.
“Season three is ‘Bachelor Pad,’ playing with all these characters who are now celebrities in some way, coming back and feeling very proud of themselves,” Oyama said. “Now they’re all about the money. Everyone’s backstabbing and ruining each other’s lives over $900.”
The third season, like the ones before it, is packed with comedic talent. (Stiller, Scott, Paul Rudd, Ken Jeong — in a blonde wig — Kristen Bell and Jennifer Aniston are a few of the celebs who’ve popped up in the past.)
Chicago-born Michael Ian Black, former cast member of the MTV sketch show “The State” (along with his college buddy Marino,) does a masterful job channeling Chris Harrison as host. Rockford native Natasha Leggero is superb as pantsless, perpetually sloshed Haley, a hot mess whose motto is bottoms up, bottoms off.
Marino and Raphael, who rocked as anchors of their respective seasons, are back, along with a bunch of former favorites including Beth Dover, Abigail Spencer, Janet Varney and Kumail Nanjiani. He played a rice peddler from Chicago with Pakistani roots in season two, when “The Bachelorette” insisted she couldn’t understand him as he talked about the White Sox in perfect English.
As the third season begins, the burning question is will there be a season four?
“I’m torn because I just love the way season three ends,” Oyama said. “But I can’t say never because it’s been so much fun.”