Burning Love: Burning Down The Web

Dymon Lewis ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Writer

Coming off a successful transition of its first season from web to television earlier this year, E! will be airing seasons 2 and 3 (already available online via Yahoo!) of The Bachelor-parody Burning Love this fall.

Season 2 stars the emotionally unstable dental hygienist Julie Gristlewhite (June Diane Raphael—NTSF:SD:SUV), who was rejected by bachelor Mark Orlando (Ken Marino) in the series first season. Though she ends season 1 in a lesbian relationship with fellow reject Carly, she emerges in season 2 as newly single, newly heterosexual and ready to mingle. Season 3 is a spoof of Bachelor Pad, where previous contestants from seasons 1 and 2 (as well as about 3 seasons that have happened off screen) compete, scheme, breakup and make up for a whopping grand-prize of a sweet $900.

Written and directed, by husband and wife comedy-team Ken Marino (who also stars as Mark Orlando) and Erica Oyama, Burning Love is generating substantial buzz for setting the industry standard for a successful web series. Oyama and Marino also serve as executive producers alongside Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, Jonathan Stern and Mike Rosenstein and all six were the recipients of the 2013 Webby Award for Special Achievement for their work on the series. Specifically, the award recognized Burning Love as an example of the viability of the web as a new medium to attract viewers, the unique collaboration between the production companies Red Hour, Abominable Productions, and Paramount Insurge with Yahoo! as well as the web series substantial social media integration.

It’s doubtful that web series are going to start outshining their traditional cousins on the television screen, but they do come with some benefits.  At a producers panel focusing on web television at the TCA Summer 2013 Press Tour, Mike Rosenstein and Stuart Cornfeld, with Jane Espenson, Jeff Greenstein and Ryan Lewis also in attendance, spoke on the freeing nature of working on a web series—no notes from the network. Writers and producers retain control and are accountable for what they do. No “network direction” also means there’s no one to blame when things don’t work out. There’s also the built-in platform for fan interaction with a web series. You’re on the internet already—why not check out Julie Gristlewhite’s Twitter? Why not write a comment on the episode? Why not watch another episode? And another? And another?

Burning Love’s success can also be attributed to its cast of seasoned comedians and actors. Ken Marino is a member of The State, a comedy troupe that produced a self-titled sketch comedy show on MTV in the early nineties and whose members are responsible for Wet Hot American Summer, Reno 911, Stella and much, much, more. Members of the troupe routinely pop up as do their famous and funny friends. Expect appearances and cameos from Adam Brody, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Christine Taylor (also known as Ben Stiller’s blonde wife), Rebecca Romijn and Jeff Ross to name a few.

Burning Love is a nominee for a 2013 Emmy Award in the Category: Outstanding Special Class—Short Format Live Action Entertainment. Of the six nominees in that category, four are web series. In a few years it’s not impossible that the Emmy Awards will recognize Web Series in a class all to themselves.

Trailer for Season 2 (via Yahoo!):


Trailer for Season 3 (via Yahoo!):


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