The seven-part series on Funny or Die features a few of today’s noteworthy faces in popular culture, such as established EDM artist Francis and internet and stand-up comedian Brandon Wardell. With each 15 minute episode, the show offers a satirical analysis into different facets of internet culture and most importantly, the toxic parts.
“Like and Subscribe” was originally supposed to air in July on go90, a mobile video app owned by Verizon. When Verizon shut down the video streaming platform, the series was up in the air for several months until it was resurrected via the Youtube comedy channel Funny or Die.
Set in Los Angeles, the epicenter of social media stardom, “Like and Subscribe” offers several parodies of internet culture in each episode. Stereotypical money-hungry Hollywood agent Skyy Goldwynne, played by Francis, is plagued by a bad reputation from the various scandals that his internet influencer clients have been a part of. In order to get back on top, he puts all five of the problematic clients in a house to collectively make content. Up until recently, each episode was marked with a notorious click-bait title, setting a clear precedent for what would be under the chopping block of criticism.
The show parodies internet celebrities both directly and indirectly, noting several of the scandals that have been a topic of conversation within the last year. Cody Clark, played by Wardell, is a 22-year-old pop star pretending to be a 14-year-old boy to appeal to a young audience. HiHaylee, played by Madeline Whitby, is a self-absorbed and annoying vlogger who is constantly providing updates on small details of her life to her thousands of followers.
Lil Dose, played by Lou Wilson, is a Youtube “prankster” who was under fire for breaking the law in one of his filmed pranks, a reference to many of the YouTubers who are willing to do anything for views. Dronez, a washed-up DJ played by Jacob Womack, has traded in his career as a DJ for live-streaming video games, stirring up lots of criticism from previous fans. The last member of the house, pretentious tech wiz and “Vimeo director” Jeremy, is played by Jack Wagner.
Some of the references in “Like and Subscribe” are a bit more on the nose than others, with the character Zach Jake being a direct parallel to the notoriously unruly Youtuber Jake Paul. In many of the episodes, Jake is filming and pranking the housemates. While something like this may have been seen as out of the blue a few years ago, people willing to go to lengths to create content is not unimaginable today.
Because of this, many of the references in “Like and Subscribe” didn’t hit the mark of an overexaggerated whim to even be considered parodies. For example, Paul’s altercation with KTLA news was arguably a much more shocking event than Zach Jake’s minor shaving cream prank in episode three. The show may have been poking fun at the immaturity of influencers, but the lack of effort in making the characters more exaggerated versions of their real-life counterparts took away some of “Like and Subscribe”’s comedic charm.
Should you watch it? Sure.
“Like and Subscribe” certainly has flaws—but that’s not to say it doesn’t have potential. Wardell offered a hilarious performance with his boyish charm and nativity, making up for the moments of awkward dialogue and jokes that fell flat.
“Like and Subscribe” can be streamed on the Funny or Die YouTube channel.
Elena Waldman can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @WaldmanElena.
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