She talks with angels | Rock Candy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

She talks with angels

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 4:46 PM

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“With Angels,” the Arkansas-connected Web TV show I told you about a while back, debuts today on strike.tv. The series is based on characters from "Church of God's Glorious Light," a play Demozette features editor Werner Trieschmann wrote years ago and then, with the help of screenwriter Mary Feuer, adapted into a screenplay.

At the center of "Angels" is Taffy Simpson (Jamie Tisdale), a young woman from small-town Arkansas struggling to find her place in Los Angeles. Her faith in God figures prominently. Like "lonelygirl15," which Feur wrote and produced for a time, "Angels" is set up like a video-blog, with Taffy talking directly into the camera, confessional-style.

"lonelygirl" was successful, at least in terms of generating publicity. Virtually, every media outlet that covers culture gave the series press, though almost all of it debated whether the posts were real, as they were presented (The New York Times eventually revealed that the series was fictional).

Without a hook like that, I wonder if a fictional video blog can be compelling for 36 episodes? Even at just a couple minutes a pop, that's a lot of face time with one actor. Especially one that, at least in the first two episodes, dances dangerously close to becoming a caricature. Tisdale, who's from Austin, Texas, plays Taffy wide-eyed and with a drawl and a naivety that only exist in Hollywood.

"I'm from Venice, California," she effuses to the camera in the opening episode. "I don't think it's much like the other Venice, but it does have a canal."

Argh.

A few grins and hair flips later, she talks vlogging and "the YouTube," a phrase no one under 40 has ever used without irony. But, in case you didn't catch those elongated dipthongs, she's a rube.

Which might undermine what looks to be one of the series' central conceits — her Christian faith. That'd be too bad. It's a topic relevant to millions out there that's rarely  presented without strong bias one way or the other. 

Admittedly, seven minutes isn't much to judge. I'll stick around. New installments will appear Monday through Thursday until Christmas. I'll keep you posted.

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