Meet Vince Foster and Tyler Haines, early twenty-somethings, who decide to make a documentary (mockumentary) about their Hollywood quest, in which they seek super-stardom and fame. These two hapless movie buffs feed into each other’s ridiculous ideas of being discovered. In Episode One, we find Vince and Tyler arriving in LaLa Land, addressing the camera as they document their inevitable rise to fame and fortune. What better place to start than the iconic Hollywood sign? Unbeknownst to them, the public is not permitted to go near that sign, so they go to jail instead. Follow that with an unsuccessful solicitation of the William Morris Agency and a myriad of adventures, in which these two friends try to connect and get connected, discover and get discovered in the land of fruits and nuts.
Initially, I felt out of touch, as a middle age woman, reviewing a series designed for the post teen/pre mid-life era audience. That odd age where you are fearless and vulnerable, self aware and self conscious at the same time, but don’t yet know the difference. However, On Empty has more to it than simply delighting in police chases at the Hollywood sign, commandeering private jets or reviving a cryogenically frozen Bruce Lee. There is an air of unusual savvy and self assurance about Vince and Tyler’s characters, that deftly underscores the fun with organic sentiment. And it’s at precisely these points that we, the adult viewing audience, experience those ‘A-Ha‘ or ‘I remember when‘ moments, and catch ourselves laughing along the journey, as our former premature middle-ages selves.
It’s easy for modern day television and movies to exaggerate or misrepresent that early twenties life. The ’80s served up an innocent, generous, upbeat cheerfulness that would become unthinkable during the cynical 90s and the 00′s gave us a slew of narcissistic young men on the run from commitment, slashers and vampires. Foster delivers a refreshing change, by showcasing far-fetched fantasies and day dreams set on a backdrop of genuine friendship; the kind of friendship that supports unquestioningly and unflinchingly, no matter how outlandish the dreams may appear. For me, On Empty does something that other series featuring young leads does not. It shows rare insight and respect for their audience, with enough sight gags to please slapstick fans and enough sensibility to please those of us who watch it from the vantage of mid-life. Combined, it’s no surprise that On Empty won the “Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series” award at the 2012 Los Angeles Web Series Festival. On Empty is fresh, young and a joy to watch.
Next week, join us as we meet creator, writer, director and actor of On Empty, Vince Foster. (Hint, you may remember him as the Egg McMuffin of boyfriends. :-)
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.