In this Funkhouser installment, I rummage through a hodgepodge of television shows and films, some of which are so obscure, you might be discovering them for the first time, others, simply forgotten about, several possibly mothballed and finally a few that just vanished into the ether altogether. This is Lost and Found: Episode 4.
“The idea of buying and selling bits of the earth, can you imagine the hubris? And yet, here we still stand!”
If you take a minute to appraise the media landscape, you’ll find that whether it’s the traditional networks, cable channels or the on-demand subscription streaming services, the entertainment industry is facing a glut in programming. While it’s incredibly exciting for audiences in terms of variety, with each passing month it seems another hundred offerings drop–the supply is exceeding the demand at this point, and picking a show to watch can feel downright overwhelming. The first rule to consider if you’re thinking of moving on to another show, is to ask yourself, how much time do you plan on investing in a series with 3, 6, 10 or maybe even 20 seasons? That’s a big decision. The upkeep alone, with all the characters, multiple plot-lines, story arcs, etc., is enough to make you just dawdle in the nabe you know. Not me, I like flipping. In fact, just last week, I was in the market for a new television show, namely a comedy, and after an exhaustive search–I actually found one worth watching–and while it’s situated in a relatively obscure location, I’m already sold.
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for parodies, so right away Bajillion Dollar Properties, had massive appeal, but I’ve been burned before by poorly constructed shows, so I decided to be cautious, take it slow and curb my enthusiasm. If the title doesn’t give it away, the original series, hilariously lampoons HGTV’s and Bravo’s vapid franchise of reality-based programs, specifically, the show, Million Dollar Listing, which chronicles the lives of some really obnoxious, self-absorbed, and superficial real estate brokers as they’re pitted against one another, to see who can be the alpha dog, in the arena of the high-priced world of big city real estate where the commissions are big, but the egos are even bigger! Creator and executive producer, comedian Kulap Vilaysac (known for her podcast Who Charted?) recognized that reality tv is the perfect genre to spoof–it has “good bones” as they say–and after watching the series in its entirety, it’s pretty clear she’s paying homage to what I consider to be an emotionally bankrupt genre of television, rather than actually tearing it down.
Part improvisation, part scripted, Bajillion Dollar Properties, which premiered in March 2016 on the over-the-top, comedy-centric streaming service, Seeso, gets laughs while ultimately playing it straight. It primarily achieves this by following the basic formula in terms of narrative and aesthetics–even down to the camera filters, music and sound effects–that you’ve come to expect from reality based entertainment. There’s the setup, or pre-cap as it’s called, where the viewers are introduced to multiple characters, spliced in-between orchestrated shots depicting the various storylines, which quickly transition to the mid-cap interview, and finally a recap at the end of each episode. Despite featuring a cast of relative unknowns, with the exception of comedian Paul F. Tompkins, who plays Dean Rosedragon, the eccentric and manipulative owner of Platinum Realty, the newcomers/up-and-comers hold their own. Because, many of the main cast members are actually stand-up, sketch or improv comedians themselves, when you combine the playfulness, great timing and their innate loose wiring with a semi-unfettered script, you get lightning in a bottle. Likewise, the actors and actresses construct delightful characters while amplifying the farcical and jejune qualities that embody the “real life” brokers that inspired them in the first place. In addition to Tompkins, other more well-known comedians make memorable appearances on the show including: Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Dave Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Nick Kroll and Andy Richter.
There’s an old realtor saying which goes, “You can’t sell it, if you can’t see it”, so if Bajillion Dollar Properties interests you in the slightest, you can watch the entire first episode below at no cost.
However, if you want to watch subsequent episodes in the first season, along with the recently released second season, you’ll have to sign a contract with Seeso to begin your 30-day free trial–after that, there’s a monthly charge. Remember though, the devil is always in the details. Despite the subsequent monthly fee, if you love comedy, you might find yourself right at home with the streaming network, as Seeso features a potpourri of original content, not to mention great stand-up, as well as vintage shows including: The Young Ones, which I previously wrote about here, along with The Kids in the Hall, Fawlty Towers, The Mighty Boosh and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. If you’re serious about funny shows, then stop reading this and start watching Bajillion Dollar Properties.
Bajillion Dollar Properties is rated TV-MA.