Alibi V.25 No.12 • March 24-30, 2016 

Idiot Box

House Party

“Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” on Seeso

In its continuing quest to supplant television with a medium that can be squeezed down to your smart phone and requires buffering, the internet has come up with another brand new, possibly fly-by-night, web-based network. It’s called Seeso. According to its creators (NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises), it features “hand-picked original and classic comedy” streaming 24 hours a day. Basically, you can go to seeso.com, pay $3.99 a month and see clips of “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “30 Rock” and a few other NBC properties—which is great if you don’t have network TV ... or Hulu ... or YouTube ... or friends on Facebook who are already posting this stuff. Basically, until they start producing original content like HBO or Netflix does, these internet channels aren’t going to be worth the code they’re written with.

To its credit Seeso does feature a few exclusive shows, including the animated “Cyanide and Happiness Show” and the sketch-based “UCB Show.” The network’s flagship, though, is the reality show parody “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.” What “Burning Love” is to dating shows and “The Hotwives of Orlando” is to annoying rich people shows, “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” is to real estate shows. The show spoofs the luxury-reality reality shows like “Million Dollar Properties” that litter HGTV, E! and the like.

The show is the creation of Kulap Vilaysack (co-host of the “Who Charted?” podcast and a regular on Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital”). Here she’s teamed with big-time comedy folks/executive producers Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Scott Aukerman. Paul F. Tompkins (“Mr. Show with Bob and David,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” “Best Week Ever”) heads the cast as Dean Rosedragon, the pompous, manipulative owner of LA’s Platinum Realty, who started the company with just “a dream, a passion and a $10 million loan from his father.” Among his employees is tough cookie Victoria King (Mandell Maughan), social media queen Chelsea Leight-Leigh (Tawny Newsome), ass-kisser Amir Yaghoob (Dan Ahdoot) and joined-at-the-hip besties Baxter Reynolds (Drew Tarver) and Andrew Wright (Ryan Gaul).

The show’s loose, workplace comedy plot allows for plenty of big-name talent to show up as one-off clients. Andy Richter, Adam Scott, Horatio Sanz, Kerri Kenney, Cameron Esposito and Patton Oswalt are just a few of the name comedians who drop by as guest stars. But it’s the show’s cutthroat cast of characters that drives this comedy engine. The show’s writers and creators are keenly aware of the sort of reality show they’re poking fun at. Each character is awful in their own unique way. Baxter and Andrew, for example, are alcoholics who met one another in rehab—but aren’t above the occasional “cheat day” in order to convince a drunken client. Yes, these are terrible people, but it’s refreshing to know they’re entirely fake—unlike those people on TV’s more straight-faced reality shows, who are only partially fake.

While the show probably isn’t strong enough to drag huge numbers of laugh-loving customers toward Seeso, it’s at least funny enough to justify handing over your email to check out the website’s free trial.

“Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” is available for streaming now on Seeso.com.