(Note: This is a review of both the first and second episodes [“The Beef” and “The Cult”] combined. Applicably, some spoilers follow.)
There are a lot of movies and TV shows that are bad. One certain section of these bad shows and/or movies are produced by, written by and star musicians. They seem to have a niche of “especially bad”. (Except 8 Mile, maybe.)
So, when I heard about “What Would Diplo Do?“, a mockumentary style show based on Diplo (of Diplo, Major Lazer and Jack Ü fame), my interest was piqued, but I was wary. As a person who enjoys electronic music, who dabbles in electronic music, and is invested in the electronic music scene, I went into this show with both trepidation and hope.
“WWDD?” is a surprisingly funny show. I say surprising because, well, I didn’t see it coming! The first episode had a great deal of humour, starting off with Diplo on a rant on Buddha vs Jesus. He then starts a Twitter beef with Calvin Harris because his music is too mainstream, the irony of which isn’t missed by his social media manager–slash–imaginary friend (?) Jamar, who points out that he made a track titled “Bubble Butt”, to which he promptly replies, “Yo, that song was flames.”
The episode also follows him as he does charity work for a Make-A-Wish-esque foundation called the “Little Wishers Foundation”, except he’s with the wrong kid. Which leads to this absolutely hilarious little moment of television:
Karen (Diplo’s assistant): You grabbed the wrong kid, asshole!
Diplo: (looks around) (feedback from a mic) Maybe a little quieter when you say shit like that?
Another surprisingly funny point of the show is the “Diplo On…” segments; the best, so far, of which was “Diplo on Making Music”:
Diplo (sitting in front of a mixing console): I don’t know what any of them do, really. This is the play button (points to a button). That’s my favourite button. I just press that one.
I may be reading too much into it, but that sounds very much like Diplo the writer making fun of DJs in general, and how their job is to just stand there and push buttons.
There are some things that can be improved, however. There’s no need to mention the title of the show every five minutes, and there’s definitely no need for that air horn every. Single. Time. The title card turns up. That got annoying very fast. The show’s overall story and pacing, especially in the second episode is faulty, and could use some improvement.
Speaking of the second episode. There’s a sharp dip in the quality, but is still quite watchable, as it follows Diplo and Skrillex (played by Brandon Wardell) as they try to come up with a hit song with a demo they’ve got from Justin Bieber (what ends up being “Where Are You Now“). The story falls flat, and the payoff feels undeserved, as if they were just getting from point A (introduction) to point B (conclusion), but it still has some solid jokes (refer “Diplo on Making Music”).
On a closing note, and I’m fully aware that I may be reading too much into this, I’d like to think that this show is an observation of the electronic music scene as a whole, with dime-a-dozen producers cropping up from everywhere, making music that all (subjectively) sound the same. Diplo, the actor, is one of them, while Diplo, the writer, takes the crap out of the industry and the scene as a whole. I’d love to see the mau5 on this, if only to serve as a real counterpoint to mainstream vs. non-mainstream music.
A few points to end on:
- The music!
- Diplo: Jesus’ entourage was kinda corny, though. I bet they never got into any parties. I bet nobody wanted to answer the door when Jesus and his crew rolled up. They’d be like, “Jesus, how many you got?” He’d be like, “Twelve.” “All dudes?” “Yep. And one prostitute.”
- Diplo: I didn’t really *bleep* your girl. Calvin Harris: No shit.
- “Otherwise we’re just posers pressing buttons.”
- Pretty much the whole interaction.
- “Could you introduce me to Calvin Harris? That guy’s the mother*bleep*ing shit.”
- Pretty much the last five minutes of episode one.
And lastly, here’s a list of the names that eventually wind up at Diplo:
Jesus, Your Mother, Kendrick Lamar, Bigfoot, Eric Andre, The Pope, Tom Brady, Elon Musk, Your Rabbi, Genghis Khan, Obama, Buddha, DJ Khaled, Gandhi, Diplo.
You’re welcome. *air horn*