Some of your favourite Vine celebrities (or “those annoying American kids”, depending on your outlook) are about to cross from “internet famous” over the threshold to just plain “famous”. Rainn Wilson, of The Office and Soul Pancake, has announced plans to produce a TV show featuring several prominent Viners. Entitled ‘Hollywood and Vine’, the show will reportedly be a half hour scripted comedy following the trials and tribulations of personalities such as Curtis Lepore, Lele Pons, Jerry Purpdrank and Simone Shepherd, as they try to make it in Los Angeles.
“We believe this show is going to be the first to celebrate these amazing, talented Viners in an authentic way and bring their style of humour to a broader audience,” says Wilson. “Plus, who doesn’t love a six second twerk?”
Six seconds, sure. But half an hour? While the incredibly short sketches and physical comedy of Vine are a mildly entertaining distraction when you have a few minutes to kill, I personally doubt they are enough to build an entire show around. It evokes memories of ‘Sh!t My Dad Says’, that short-lived 2010 sitcom based on Justin Halpern’s book, which itself originated as a Twitter feed. The six second limit of Vine and 140 character count of Twitter have cultivated a wealth of writers and performers who specialise in pithy insights out of necessity. There is no guarantee this form of comedy (which often amounts to simply stating ‘relatable’ everyday facts, BuzzFeed-style) will translate to another medium.
And even if writer Lance Krall (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) can find a way to make it work, it still might have paid to be a tad more selective in casting. The inclusion of alleged rapist Curtis Lepore in the line-up has irked a number of commentators, like Maggie Serota, who says Lepore is “merely the next in a long line of abusers to have his troublesome history with women swept under the rug.”
Even disregarding Lepore and the allegations made against him, Vine has a sketchy record when it comes to content that relies on gender and racial stereotypes. And while an independent ‘comedian’ may have no qualms about posting controversial jokes to their own channel in the name of being edgy, the viewing public are under no obligation to indulge them, as Nash Grier and Sam Pepper can attest. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get away with the same kind of outdated, painfully unfunny ‘banter’ when you are on national television. You need look no further than the critically panned Dapper Laughs TV show to see that.