Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Josh Schwartz's Quipsville, CA

Ever wondered what The O.C. would've been like if it centered on Seth at the Bait Shop? Me neither, but creator Josh Schwartz apparently has, and turned that wonderment into a web-based new series called Rockville, CA, which launched yesterday on TheWB.com. The Rockville (L.A.'s Echoplex) is the Bait Shop 2.0 (just as black and as unbelievably clean,) while Hunter (Andrew West) is the resident music geek, and Schwartz's fourth different take on the Seth character (following Gossip Girl's Dan Humphrey and Chuck's namesake,) and this Schwartz archetype has never been Seth-ier.

Witty, self-righteous, and always at the ready with a snarky quip, Hunter might just the hardest of the Seths so far to like, and with the twitter-like brevity necessary for a four-six minutes webisode, it's going to be difficult to flesh out the character, 140 characters at a time, as it were. Deb, the cute girl we're supposed to think is mousy thanks to some Tina Fey frames, is somehow able to see through the geek smarm and is smitten with him, only SethHunter is too inside his own head to see it.

If it sounds like the thin plot to a lot of teen movies, that's because having a plot here seems secondary to getting a bit of face time for "up and coming" bands. In today's four webisodes, there's The Kooks, The Duke Spirit, The Broken West and Nico Stai, with future scheduled appearances from the likes of Eagles of Death Metal, Lykke Li, Kaiser Chiefs, Frightened Rabbit, Travis, Phantom Planet, Bishop Allen and many more. And since the bands are more upfront, music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas has a far more prominent role in these webisodes than she does in all the other Schwartz series she supervises. Too bad the bands are only on for less than a minute at a time, as even the performances have been twitter-sized.

I'm still going to stick with it, though, if only to see if things pick up by the sixth episode (launching next week, March 24,) which besides the first, is the next webisode scripted by Josh Schwartz himself. Ultimately, though, you're probably better served watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist on DVD, which, even for all its flaws, does a much better job at weaving indie rock with witty young drama.

Playlist: Rockville, CA - Episodes 1-4
1. Dead Pony - Nico Stai - Episode 1
2. Do You Wanna - The Kooks - Episode 2
3. Always Where I Need To Be - The Kooks - Episode 2
4. Perfect Games - The Broken West - Episode 3
5. Auctioneer - The Broken West - Episode 3
6. The Step And The Walk - The Duke Spirit - Episode 4
7. Lassoo - The Duke Spirit - Episode 4

No comments: