On the list of lame network executive ideas for new shows—hovering just below “How about a rip-off of some other network’s reality show?” and “Can’t we just do another ‘CSI’ spinoff?”—comes this increasingly popular suggestion: “What if we buy some cheap web series and broadcast that?” While Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has milked a few weeks’ laughs out of stuff like “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet,” most Internet-to-network translations have gone the way of NBC’s notorious 2006 outing “quarterlife.” One airing and that’s the last anyone ever heard of that particular meme.
Now, Comedy Central has given a late-night slot to “Secret Girlfriend,” a would-be digital sensation created by Jay Rondot and Ross Novie. The show began life as a mobile phone series. Soon after, it made the leap to full-fledged web series, courtesy of comedy site Atomic Wedgie. Now, Comedy Central has ordered up a half-dozen half-hour episodes for our consumption. Really, CC, you shouldn’t have bothered.
The gimmick of the show is that it’s shot entirely in first-person P.O.V. You are the alleged “star” of the show and everything is seen through your eyes. The situation is this: You’ve got a crazy (and by that I mean dangerously insane) ex-girlfriend (Alexis Krause), a cute, blonde, video game-playing, beer-drinking could-be future girlfriend (Sara E.R. Fletcher) and a couple of idiotic roommates (Michael Blaiklock and Derek Miller) who spend their days trying to create viral videos. Most (and by that I mean every freaking second) of the show is taken up by the first-person camera (you, remember) ogling every scantily clad woman who walks by.
In the rare moments that the camera isn’t peering down some gal’s cleavage, it’s delivering one of two jokes: your roommates are making some “hilarious” viral video (all involving them hitting one another in the head) or your ex-girlfriend is taking off her clothes and trying to have sex with you. You see, “Secret Girlfriend” takes place in a world where women all look like porn stars and hang out in sports bars waiting to be hit on by fat slobs, whom they find highly attractive. Now I appreciate gigantic, jiggling boobs as much as the next guy, but “Secret Girlfriend” has got all the sexual subtlety and witty wordplay of a Super Bowl beer commercial—one that drags on for 20 minutes straight.
In what must pass for hip, cutting-edge style to aged, easily duped network executives, text messages pop up on your cell phone every few minutes, forcing you to read meaningless things off a tiny digital screen. All of them involve your friends, your ex-girlfriend or your prospective new squeeze about to arrive at some inopportune moment. Since you are the star of this frenetic series, “you” can’t actually speak, leaving the show’s main character a voiceless, personality-free cypher. Huh. I finally get to star in a TV show and I’m an idiotic, beer-swilling horndog. Not only do I hate the show ... now I hate myself.
“Secret Girlfriend” airs Wednesdays at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.