“I just wanted to let them be themselves,” he says. “They’re such dorky, real guys. I figured they would make great hosts. And I just really appreciated the homegrown, do-it-yourself, ballsy thing they’re doing.” All he had to do was convince Rosenblum’s mother that this was not some mean-spirited goof on her son and his friends. “She was all concerned we were going to mock them. I was like, ‘Definitely not! I don’t want to mock them!’ She thought we were gonna Photoshop their heads on backwards and all this stuff.”
Porter only wanted a 60-second clip. “I just wanted to let them do what they do, but on a much smaller scale. It doesn’t have to be incredibly long, so I just give them a minute to do a review.” Besides fitting in with that one-minute OCD-friendly format favored by today’s short-attention-span audiences, the quickie capsule reviews help redress one of GameLife’s biggest faults. Clocking in at more than a half-hour, the show’s six episodes so far are just too lengthy.
But that brevity also sacrifices some of the funny subplots GameLife has been developing in its recent episodes. The hosts have evinced a real knack for generating storylines and staging publicity stunts in hopes of attracting viewers.
In May, for instance, vid-game fan site Kotaku.com (think of it as Gawker for gamers) published a sensational scoop: GAMELIFE’S MELISSA HAS A DEADLY HOBBY. It had stumbled, it seems, upon a Web site, creativelybankrupt.com, on which people pose for elaborately and graphically re-enacted crime-scene photos. In Melissa’s, she rests a lifeless head with dead eyes on the shoulder of a man whose own head is lolled backward. Her blouse is stained with real-looking fake blood, and on the wall behind them are two profuse spatters of vivid carmine. (The photo, she says, was “taken for my mother’s Christmas card.”)
Melissa responded to the ginned-up controversy by filming a clever parody of E! True Hollywood Story, in which she comes clean about her seamy off-camera activities, and bemoans the GameLife hosts’ admonition that the macabre snaps would “tarnish the show’s family-friendly image, and possibly mar the face of the entire gaming industry.”
In real life, Andrew does admit that “it freaked me out a little” when he first found the photos. “But now that I met her, it’s like, ‘Okay, she’s normal.’ ”
Mutters Dave in the corner: “It’s kind of a turn-on.”
Dave himself was the centerpiece of the show’s latest publicity grab, in which a story was concocted that he had stormed off the show thanks to a dispute with Andrew. Dave gave interviews with at least one fan site in which he talked grandly about creative differences and outlined his post-show plans, and the remaining two hosts held open auditions for his replacement.
Then, at the beginning of Episode Six, just as Dave’s replacement was about to be named, into the frame barrels … DAVE!?!
“Yeah, yeah, yeah … Let me explain why I’m back,” he says, shaking a finger in Andrew’s face. “Not for you” — he turns with a grandiose flourish — “but for YOU! The FANS!” All the e-mails, phone calls, and instant messages from his distraught public had apparently convinced him that “there was no one out there who could replace ME.”