Welcome to the Webseries Royale, a new weekly post in which various webseries duke it out. Two series will be compared based on their content, execution and overall entertainment value, and one will be crowned champion! Two webseries enter, but only one can leave victorious.
In honor of Beyonce’s B’DAY earlier this week, our premiere round will be all about DIVAS, including two series that feature BB as a prominent character. In one corner, we have the shade-slinging Got 2B Real, a deliciously satirical series that imagines the conversations on a “Diva Variety Show” that features the likes of Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and Rihanna. On the other end of the ring we have the quirky The Nekci Menij Show, a cartoon fever dream of internet jargon and bizarre caricatures. Which series will emerge the best representation of divas and the ridiculousness of celebrity? Let the games begin!
Got 2B Real
The shade, the shade of it all! Shade, or the act of being shady, is central in this series, in which divas are dubbed to sound like a Bad Girls Club reunion by way of drag ball. The series, a favorite of New York comedian Elliot Glazer, uses interview footage edited together, along with sometimes brilliant voice dubbing, to create a fictional universe where Patti LaBelle and a Jabba the Hut-sounding Aretha Franklin have some serious beef (Angus, to be exact). Each episode is built around conflict between the ladies in some Real Housewife vein.
In the episode above, the ladies reflect on how Brandy “MOESHA” Norwood crashes Franklin’s bridal shower. Definitely high marks for voice acting, which can both be spot-on (a convincing Mariah and Janet), or satirical (a chipmunk Chaka Khan or a male impersonating Dionne Warwick). The only outlier seems to be Beyonce, who is a bit too high pitched and squeaky to be taken as serious or humorous.
What really makes this webseries so endearing is its intricate design and dialogue. The fictional arguments and musings of these premier female artists are weaved together by some of the most ingenious insults these ears have ever heard (“I’d be jealous too if my body was shaped like a Tetrus block!” Rihanna snaps at Mariah at one point). The dialogue contains a balance between the clever and the low-brow, bouncing among “Yo Momma Is Fat” jokes to well executed word play. What the series really has going for its many references, drawn from film as well as actual scandals from the artist’s lives, such as Mary J. Blige’s “racist” Burger King commercial. Only draw backs can be the length of each episode, usually upwards of ten minutes, or the disorientation of the show’s format.
The Nekci Menij Show
On the opposite side of the diva skewing spectrum, we have this gem. Here we have the same career hitting jokes, the same squabbling between female artists, but this time through the lens of a cartoonish child’s daydream – if that child were extremely bitchy and dark.
The Nekci Menij Show is an animated series that centers on the relationships between the reigning female pop stars of our time, who are voiced through the automated devices of Microsoft Word. Where Got 2B Real is generally built on logic (impractical, unpredictable logic), this show is as if we dropped the Top 40 giants into a Red and Stimpy realm. It is insane, but that’s intentional.
At first you may try to fight off the stupidity of the series, but eventually it sinks in, and you find little moments of pure brilliance (Xtina’s house is made out of unsold Bionic albums). The little memes begin to become lovable, inhabitants of a off-kilter micro-world. And, by the time Adele shows up you cannot look away (her “Someone Like You” hors d’œuvres in the episode above is perfection). And in contrast to the other series, the short running time and to the simple story lines are easier to digest.
The verdict: While the simply sweet The Nekci Menji Show is so endearing, it cannot match the mind blowing building humor of Got 2B Real, which is packed with a wealth of hilarious references and comebacks, and then moves back over these moments with deft ability.
So, what do you all think?