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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Web Series of the Week: The Twisted World of Ave 43

This week's web series is Ave 43, which I first blogged about back in February. Created by Justin Tanner (who writes and directs every episode), this deliciously bizarre soap opera has been running on YouTube since last summer, and having watched many online serials, I can safely say that there's nothing else like Ave 43. Unlike some web soaps that put you to sleep while taking forever to tell their story, Tanner's tale of mystery and romance in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles is a wild roller coaster ride that never slows down. You do have to pay close attention to Ave 43 because there's a helluva lot going on, but you will definitely never get bored.

Here's a brief rundown of some of my favorite characters and their dramas:

Debbie (Chloe Taylor) is the main heroine of the show. She's caught between her former life as a drug-addicted porn star and her new relationship with Cliff (Jonathan Palmer), who had an unfortunate encounter with a peanut butter-loving dog as a child. He also has an identical twin brother, Garth, who is the biggest gay porn star in Western Australia over 45.

Randy (Todd Lowe, who played Zach on Gilmore Girls and currently appears as Terry on HBO's True Blood) is Debbie's old boyfriend who becomes involved with the loopy Lettice (Patricia Scanlon), a woman with an "unpredictable" white cat named Pazuzu. This frisky feline has an intriguing storyline all his own, which I will let you discover for yourself.

Shayne (Danny Schmitz) is the resident bad boy of Ave 43 who occasionally murders someone - but since he's cute and likes to indulge in gay three-ways, it's nice to have him around. However, many folks would like to see him dead.

Fran (Danielle Kennedy) and Viv (Jayne Taini) look more like sisters than mother and daughter, but both of them are nasty pieces of work.

Ondria (Abby Travis), Viv's stepdaughter, gave up practicing witchcraft to be in a band - but her book of spells continues to get used by others.

And Irene (Melissa Denton) is the craziest of them all as she enjoys introducing her "time portal" to unsuspecting people.

To play all of these wonderful characters, Tanner has assembled a talented group of actors, who know how to instill a sense of "heightened" reality into his twisted world with their performances. Schmitz, Scanlon and Denton are especially good - and a lot of fun to watch - in their scene-stealing roles. Below are the latest two chapters of the series, but if this is your first visit to Ave 43, I highly recommend that you start at the very beginning and go to Tanner's YouTube channel to catch up on every episode.

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