Why YouTube Original’s “Weird City” Needs a Second Season
Three months ago today, Weird City debuted on YouTube Premium. Two episodes were made free to the public; “The One” and “Family” and to date have led the charge with nearly 20 million views for the series.
By featuring a more comedic take on the angsty Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, Altered Carbon-like “near distant future” technology anthems; Weird City delivered heavily on the first part of its name. Dylan O’Brien wearing toe shoes with the middle toe cut out? Weird. Michael Cera chewing on hybrid worms like they’re candy? Weird.
And yet the show excels. Yes, it’s weird, but also… delightful. The show is full of campy humor, nostalgic ‘90s callbacks and a whole lot of heart. Fitting since the show debuted around Valentine’s Day. In typical Weird City fashion, our first offering was “The One” and featured Dylan O’Brien (currently filming Monster Problems) and Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) who were brought together under unlikely circumstances. Though the situation and method of their union was unorthodox to say the least (the questions on the dating site application are one of many of the episode’s highlights), the two actors delivered emotional performances that only bolstered an already solid script.
The second episode Family, starred Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson. This one had the most shades of the angst-ridden shows we’re used to, but it’s not without its wholehearted light moments. The episode even led to a lot of discussion on Twitter about the nature of Tawney, Cera’s character.
And let’s not forget LeVar Burton! It’s time for a “LeVarissance” and Weird City is ready to start it. This time, LeVar’s Dr. Aloysius Negari sees the beloved childhood hero in a sort of anti-villain role. He makes what should be a cut and dried “bad dude” into someone whose motivations you want to explore. He’s pompous, pretentious and just down right interesting!
For those who ventured further into the series, they were treated to inspired performances by some of our fave actors and actresses. Gillian Jacobs of Community and Love, Awkwafina (Crazy, Rich, Asians, Oceans 8) and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) all deliver performances that lend to the fun and weirdness of these eps. And with direction by greats such as Amy Heckerling, each episode packs quality into a small time frame.
So why is it so important that this show be renewed? Because writer and creator Charlie Sanders gets it. Sanders has been Jordan Peele’s writing partner for years and has an acute eye when it comes to diversity and inclusion. There is an entire episode (Ep. 4 “Smart House”) which features a powerhouse of queer representation. From Mark Hamill to Sara Gilbert and LaVerne Cox as well as some background players, the episode showed us a story of a queer couple that was dealing with a relatable issue (what happens when your partner is overly concerned with status?) while at the same time not sensationalizing the queer aspect of their relationship. And the best part is that the episode wasn’t the “token” queer episode of the season. We also saw queer representation in “The One”, but the unorthodox part of their relationship was that it was cross-generational. The men have a quick discussion about their perceived sexualities, but this is soon pushed to the side as they discover that love conquers all.
There are characters of all different ethnicities and backgrounds and all are well represented. Attention is paid, but it’s not forced and that distinction is what makes Weird City a breath of fresh air.
For those getting to know me and my content, you know that diversity and inclusion are my jam! When a show achieves it, I praise it, and when it fails, I… discuss it. It’s important that we start to redefine the pre-established norms and one way to get that message out is through entertainment.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlie on my podcast and as he spoke about casting decisions, it almost seemed like the diversity was second nature. It wasn’t necessarily him going down a checklist and saying “I need a black guy, a lesbian, a trans man, someone Asian!” but it was more along the lines of, “These are people I like who I want to work with.” The Hollywood landscape is changing and with that there is more demand for across-the-board representation, but also diversity within that. The show is a perfect example of having diversity that’s relatable and unites us through the things we all find humorous and entertaining. It’s a show that makes light of the human condition that transcends race and sexual diversity without white washing it.
Recently YouTube announced it would be moving away from its scripted content and moving back to music. It will still keep successful shows like its flagship, Cobra Kai. With our views we could help Weird City be next on the list for renewal, ushering in more entertainment that celebrates our sameness while respecting our differences. I can’t wait to see what’s next from the “weird” mind of Charlie Sanders and company. And I believe they deserve a chance to show us.
Tuesday, May 14th will be the three-month anniversary of Weird City. Grab a loved one and treat yourself to 3 hours of good, quality entertainment. Weird City is available on YouTube. The first two eps are free and the rest are available in their YouTube Originals (premium) section that offers a free trial period. If you love it, tweet your support to YouTube with the hashtag: #WeirdCityS2.
Let’s take back control and start demanding more from our media. C’mon YouTube! Give Weird City a first chance at a second season!
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