Ronna and Beverly (UK/US)
Making its debut on British television on Monday 10th Sep, 2012, was an odd little show based on a successful ‘Earwolf Network’ podcast, in which two improvisers play a couple of 50-something Jewish women from Massachusetts who interview celebrity guests.
Ronna and Beverly (R&B), authors of the self-help book ‘You’ll Do a Little Better Next Time: A guide to marriage and re-marriage for Jewish singles’, have been chatting to guests on their podcast for the best part of this year, and its popularity has led to a British/American co-production for British TV (via Sky Atlantic).
The appeal of R&B is their interview style - matronly, critical and outright rude to their guests, they immediately disarm their guests, who if they weren’t ready to play along at the outset, warm into the conceit at hand - Ronna is the anchor, Beverly the energy and together they talk to (and over) their guests; the televison version sees the ladies interviewing guests, standing either side of their guest, who is seated on a chair; forced to swivel between rapid-fire discussions, most of which they can’t even keep up with.
Sound good? It really works.
The addition of a live audience in the TV series is a bit unsettling at first, as their laughter does seem to stunt the overall flow of the conversation, but this also seems to be something the hosts are getting used to, and will even out over time.
Interviews are interspersed with ‘audience participation’ sketches, on-location footage, referencing pop-culture and interviewing others who perhaps don’t have the substance to be interviewed in the studio, or are unsuspecting of the ‘whole deal.’ The language is colourful, suited to a mature audience, but isn’t too unpleasant.
Guests on the series will include Frank Skinner, David Walliams (Little Britain), Jon Hamm (Mad Men, frequent Earwolf Podcast guest), Alfie Boe (Les Miserables) and the show is produced by Bridesmaids director, and creator of Freaks and Geeks, Paul Feig. The stars, Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo, you’ll have no doubt seen on shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sex & The City, are fantastic as the ‘clucking, bullying, bickering’ pair who hopefully will find success in the UK and elsewhere!
This won’t find an audience on Australian TV at this stage, but is readily available in all the usual places.
For an introduction, or to pursue the ‘audio only’ version of the show, head to Earwolf and start at the beginning. Ronna and Beverly will air on Sky Atlantic HD (and normal D!) on Monday nights.