Apr 25, 2013
I've gotta go with Marvel Comics' 1960s silliness, Not Brand Ecch! Stan Lee and his bullpen knew all the stereotypes, archetypes and tropes better than anyone -- having created most of them -- and they showed no fear in ridiculing themselves, their competition and the hippie-dippie era. But each new generation needs its own jokes, and today's bunch of superheroes is no different.
YURI LOWENTHAL podcast excerpt: "It should have come from my twisted brain, but it actually came from (Tara). I'm the one who collected action figures and knew all about that world. But Tara is the idea woman. We were looking for the type of show we could produce on a small budget and maintain. Tara came to me one day with this idea about action figures on a shelf!"
So whether you love comic books or comic book movies, or even if you think the genre is totally ridiculous, you're bound to fall in love with the crude, wicked humor of Shelf Life, the YouTube series about plastic action figures come to life on a little boy's shelf. It's Toy Story for young people who have graduated from PG-13-rated movies to a hard R.
The series, now in its fourth season of short, brutally funny-yet-crude episodes, was created by the husband-and-wife team of Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, who play Bug Boy and Hero Lass, respectively. In addition to their characters, other off-the-shelf players include Hero Man, Samurai Snake and Black Velvet. If you've been skeptical of the world of TV series created specifically for the web, Shelf Life is a good excuse to indulge your curiosity. It's quite clever and reminds me a lot of NBC's Community, with Tara a lot like Allison Brie's character in terms of her sexuality and knowing a lot more about life than you might think... and Yuri capturing the innocence and humor of Danny Pudi's Abed.