Come for the absurdism, stay for the cheesy special effects. Modern art parody “Whole Day Down” turns the web series space into a playground for creators Tai Fauci (producer of “Palisades Pool Party“), Patrick Breen (Madame Secretary, The Good Wife, Galaxy Quest) and their closest friends — and things get bizarre in a hurry.
Breen and Willie Garson (Sex and the City, White Collar) star as two failed actors who launch a modern art gallery owned by Patrick’s dictatorial father-in-law. Missi Pyle (Gone Girl, The Artist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) joins the cast for Season 2 as Patrick’s wife Nadine.
Patrick and Willie’s problems include a Hitler-esque art critic, a satanic receptionist, and a string of increasingly strange artists whose shows always go as badly as possible. Also, Willie gets Patrick’s wife pregnant, while Patrick is secretly in love with gallery employee Hunter. Then (spoilers I guess?) they blow themselves up for a performance art piece and unleash the apocalypse, and Willie gets a spinoff show where he chauffeurs celebrity guest stars through the lava-filled streets of LA. (Keep an eye out for Kylie Sparks and Christine Weatherup from fellow web series “Squaresville.”)
After being amused and thoroughly weirded out by the series so far, I had to ask Tai Fauci and Patrick Breen how on earth they came up with the idea. Their answers are below — edited for length, because these guys are happy to go on for hours.
So, just curious — if you had to describe “Whole Day Down” in 140 characters or less, how would you sum it up?
Tai: I don’t know if I think in 140 characters! It’s, um … surreal video art masquerading as a comedy web series.
Patrick: Surreal video art — wow, that’s over my head. I was just trying to tell a story in a crazy way, and Tai and I have very similar sensibilities about knocking down the walls a bit… I can’t do 140 characters, sorry.
The best I could come up with was “Modern art will cause the apocalypse.”
Patrick: Yeah! You’re exactly right. We wanted to do a show about the art world, and I love shows about the apocalypse. We wanted these guys to be so bad at running a gallery that it causes Armageddon.
Obviously it’s a satire of modern art, but it’s clear that you really love the medium. What do you love about modern art, and what’s the most ridiculous thing about it?
Tai: I don’t know if modern art is ridiculous, but it’s an artistic time in which anything can be art. Something I think we stay true to in our show is the art is not that far from what art is now. Any of our artists, if I walked into a gallery and saw the art, I’d be like “Oh, okay. There’s a guy and a bomb.”
Patrick: The guy in the suicide vest was taken from Marina Abramovic’s show “The Artist is Present,” where the artist sat across the table from everyone, and you just sat with her for as long as you felt like and then got up and left. So, what if the artist had a suicide vest on? It would raise the stakes somewhat.
In the first episode, the art installation is a web series where the artist arrests people — so you’re making fun of a web series in your web series. Do you have views on how YouTube and the internet fit into the art world?
Patrick: I had this idea of shooting a seven-minute show because we don’t have any money, we can’t make a television show, but the web allows everybody… My 15-year-old nephew has a podcast that’s very successful called “The Reel Cinema,” where he interviews his best friends and they talk about the trailers that are coming out and the Marvel universe. You couldn’t do that when I was 15.
You can produce stuff, and if there’s talent, the cream rises and people hear about it somehow. If it’s terrible it’s terrible, but if it’s good, you have a chance to make something.