Missing Something: Web Sitcom Review

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Missing Something. I don't really know where to start...

Missing Something is billed as a "cross-platform web sitcom: a spotlight into a world of pretentious media agencies, self-absorbed artists, oversexed-flatmates and very petty crooks" (missingsomething.tv). Ok, yeah, it is a web-based situation comedy and, indeed, it does give insight into a world of pretentious media agencies and the like. Yes. And it does that in a quirky, interesting, mildly funny way. Yes. However, I think I'm the one who's 'Missing Something' in its identification with "cross-platform". I've only found it to be on the internet in video format... Where is the "cross"? Honestly, I'd love to know. I'd love to know because, other than that small question (one that is annoying me because I can't find the answer and it must be obvious), I actually quite enjoyed this micro-series.

YouTube is a wonderfully diverse platform for creativity; it's a vastly bizarre and disorientating world in its own right, flitting aggressively between complex genius and embarrassing bouts of silliness and absurdity with the clicks between each video encountered. I'm pleased to say that Missing Something is NOT the latter. Although, naturally, our protagonist's, Rachel, life is, with amusing (sometimes ridiculous) consequences.

When I first watched the first episode of the first series (each episode is only 3 minutes long so I indulged in a few of them a few times), I'll admit, my first thoughts were: "what is this?? I'm confused". Now, I don't mean this in a bad way, of course. I was confused, yes - I felt like I joined the protagonist's life half way through the overarching problem - but this confusion spurred me on to want to know more. Who is Freddie? Will she get over him? Will she find someone else? All these questions raised within the first 45 seconds of the episode... That, to me, seems like pretty tight and carefully crafted script writing (something very important to me), which I can only applaud.

The honed, sometimes poetic, galloping and attentive script isn't the only part of this web sitcom I enjoyed, obviously ("Miss Rachel Rachel" being a personal highlight of mine). Leila Sykes - who plays Rachel, our awkward and haphazard protagonist stuck in the middle of the crazy world she's unfortunately made for herself in London - is particularly good. Naturally pretty, naturally funny and naturally... Natural; Sykes performs the love-sick, continuously baffled and discontented Rachel with ease and consideration. As a character, Rachel is relatable and likeable anyway but Sykes just makes her that little bit more lovely.

I also thoroughly enjoyed (from a technical point of view) the editing and direction of the episodes. Clearly taking influence from big time comedies such as Green Wing (the genius series everyone should know and love), areas of filming are fast forward and strange noises placed on insignificant objects and actions to give the overall atmosphere of the episodes a comfortable, but never alienating, place in the uncanny valley. The film quality also, is stunning: the care and attention given to this series is glaringly obvious and its creators should be proud of themselves.

Naturally, though, nothing is perfect and there were a few elements of this web sitcom that just weren't to my taste. The apparently sarcastic character of Claire (Rachel's roommate) - played by the gorgeous Ashlea Kaye - came across as less sarcastic and/or 'the straight man' of the piece, but more just the slightly dull, far too grown up one who always knows best. This would have become exhaustive if not played off against irritatingly melodramatic wannabe actress Annie - Francesca Binefa - who never really knows what's going on.

Also, as a side note, I'm not sure how 'feminist friendly' this series is (it doesn't claim to be, but it follows the lives of so many women, I would hope gender equality would have been thought of, even just briefly, at some stage). Our protagonist - Rachel - is almost entirely driven by her heartache over her ex-boyfriend Freddie; a pretentious, horrible man who likes to mess with her emotions to stroke his own ego and her desire to win him back... Call me a feminist cynic, but I like to think women have more substance than to exist solely to love men. Plus, Rachel is such a cool character, I want to see her do waaay more than get trampled on by that horrible, ridiculous man!

In summary, Missing Something, although 'Missing Somethings', here and there, is a strong piece of work that had me a little hooked by the end. I'm glad I found it...

(C) Sophie Porter 2014

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Missing Something
created by Leila Sykes
Yaz & Haz Al-Shaatera
A Brother Brother production
A Three’s Company production

Web: http://missingsomething.tv
Facebook: http://facebook.com/MissingSomethng
Twitter: @MissingSomethng

Author's review: 
3