This week on “Hidden Gem” – the best place for cord cutters to get their fill of great television (which may require you to step out of your comfort zone) – we watch “Burning Love.” After getting serious with last week’s gem, I thought we should take a step back into the realm of comedy.
Apple pie, baseball, Marlboro Reds, and Reality TV; nothing is more American. Let’s be honest, admit it, we’ve all watched an episode of a reality show – and to be completely truthful – we have all most likely seen an entire season of one. It doesn’t matter if you enjoyed it or not; you’ve binged on “Flavor of Love,” hated yourself, and moved on. Or, maybe you’re an avid fan of these shows because you know how ridiculous they are. Either way, with “Burning Love,” you’re in for a treat.
There was some monumental paradigm shift in the infancy of reality dating shows where things just became absurd – over- the-top sexuality, blatant libidos, superfluous “challenges,” and dullard protagonists in search of a six-week crash-course in finding love.
It was only a matter of time that a farcical, “mockumentary” reality dating show would arise into the stratosphere of satire and poke fun at this sacred television tradition. Enter, “Burning Love” – a hilarious spoof of shows like “Rock of Love” and “The Bachelor,” with some of the brightest faces in comedic acting.
One could say that in the real world, a man dating thirteen women would be vilified…well honey-child, this ain’t the real world.
The show stars Ken Marino (“The State,” “Eastbound and Down”…you’ve definitely seen this guy before) as Mark Orlando – an early thirties firefighter with the mind and mannerisms of a Joe Millionare or a Juan Pablo. This shallow, absent minded character is given the ultimate fantasy of getting to choose from a handful of equally absurd women to be his spouse…because getting married on realty TV always works out, right?
Everything in this satirical series is cleverly on-point with what you’d expect from a trashy reality love show; meet-and-greets, scandalous cast members, ridiculous displays of desperateness, a “bro-ish” host/confidant, and scripted outings. However, being as outlandish as possible, “Burning Love” tosses a few goofy twists into the mix, like Agnes, an 85-year-old retiree who took a sabbatical from her stint in the nursing home to be on the show, or the numerous bipolar women who would rather shed blood than go home.
The entire show seems to mirror and poke-fun at every textbook move the real, reality dating shows regurgitate time after time.
A surprising ensemble
So many talented actors and actresses grace the show with their presences. Nordic beauty, Malin Ackerman, plays a homeless Cinderella who is more interested in being able to stay in the warm mansion than winning over the doltish bachelor. Kirsten Bell plays a fanatically religious, girl-next-door who is “already in a relationship with god,” while other comedic actresses like Natasha Leggero, June Diane Raphael, and Janet Varney fill every stereotypical cast member role, and then some. Jennifer Anniston even makes a brief appearance.
The roster is so deep on this show’s first season making it a truly spectacular viewing experience. Originally premiering on the E! Network in 2012, the show is currently on its third season – unfortunately with only season 1 on Hulu.
Recommended if you like:
Any reality competition/dating show, “Kroll Show,” “Upright Citizens Brigade,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “The Office,” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Past Hidden Gems: