Last month I reviewed a proposed TV pilot titled Overcrowded. Frankly, I didn’t have much good to say about it. This time out, the creators of Overcrowded have developed a web series called Marty and Doug’s New Religion. The first season is comprised of six episodes with a total running length of about 45 minutes (an episode averages about seven or eight minutes).
Marty (Greg Vorob) and Doug (Dan Conrad) are two slackers with little prospect. Neither of the two have a job, money, nor a girlfriend. In fact, they are so pathetic that they have taken to hanging out to watch a particularly pretty lady enter the church across the street on Sunday morning. Frustrated at their inability to obtain money and sex, they hit upon the idea of creating their own religion. They become quite excited at the prospect of being able to raise money from their congregation, avoid taxes, and possibly have sex, which of course will be a fundamental construct of their new religion. The web series follows these two as they develop their religion, form a congregation, scam a local city worker into granting them tax-exempt status, and then fracture into two separate branches before falling apart altogether. Jesus himself even makes an occasional appearance to chastise the boys, to no avail.
Marty and Doug’s New Religion is certainly a better project than Overcrowded. The entire project seems more focused, including the writing, which was sorely lacking in Overcrowded. This time there is a definite and well-constructed plot for each of the six webisodes which allows the overall story to flow much easier. The acting is better, too. Even the technical problems that occurred with Overcrowded are much improved here, though not perfect (some characters are still much louder than others). I enjoyed this series much more than Overcrowded.
Unfortunately, I don’t share the same comedic taste as do stars Vorob and Conrad (also co-creators of both Overcrowded and Marty and Doug’s New Religion). Filled with silliness rather than real comedy, I felt the majority of jokes fell flat. While some of the biting sarcasm aimed at organized religion was funny, those particular jabs weren’t original. Other set pieces seemed to be aimed at the Saturday morning cartoon set and were more silly and infantile than truly funny. For instance, as Marty and Doug argue over the name of their new religion, they get into a girly hand-slapping fight. This might be funny on the Disney Channel, but here it isn’t. Vorob and Conrad do show some originality, though, as Marty and Doug fight over the name of the religion–Badassanity or Awesomism. I did truly enjoy the biting commentary on religion, especially the idea of this new religion splitting into two branches because the leaders don’t get along.
Overall, this web series is a huge improvement over their TV pilot, Overcrowded. A second season is planned with pre-production slated to begin in late January for the first webisode of Season Two: Marty and Doug join with Jesus to meld their two religions into one. Season one is available for viewing, along with information about the series, at http://martyanddoug.squarespace.com.