Detroit (Blank) City Perfectly Captures City's Current Zeitgeist

June 10, 2013, 3:08 PM

Remember that Save Detroit Kickstarter parody from a few months back? Well, those eager solutionists have, if you follow the premise of the gag, raised the $500 million they need to actually make Detroit awesome.

In the first episode of the Detroit (Blank) City web series produced by Oren Goldenberg, we watch these do-gooders brainstorm how they plan to spend the money and, you know, save Detroit.

With a white board set up to list both good and bad ideas, the group quickly decides the solution for Detroit is pop-ups. Lots and lots of pop-ups.

Just so we're clear, they aren't proposing some pop-ups as part of a solution to the narrow problem of Detroit's lack of retail. They're hoping that turning everything into a pop-up will solve all Detroit's problems. They'll be like a "frozen tundra bearing flowers in an early spring," one brainstormer opines before the group decides to order pizza from Supino's -- of course.

And while this part of the Detroit (Blank) City bit is well-done, it's also predictable. The episode gets really good when it pivots from the spot-on, if low-hanging fruit, brainstorming scene to a faux-news report on the practical application of such a program. 

On location in Eastern Market, a local TV field reporter named Bill Bondsman (demerits for being that obvious and 25 years out of date) extols the virtues of all manner of pop-up ventures that are rarely open or, well, let's just say are of dubious intent -- including an interaction between a drunken Tiger fan and what sociologists would call the informal economy.

The sketch's real strength comes from the reporter's ability to perfectly mimic the cadence and style of WDIV reporters. Imagine Rod Meloni if Rod Meloni looked like "Alasandro Alegre as The Chief" from the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video and that's exactly what you have.

The episode also features a smug Dan Gilbert PSA and a campaign commercial for a mayoral candidate who is inexplicably walking everywhere, which is exactly like what happens in most campaign ads. This is Aaron Sorkin's world now. The rest us of us just walk and talk through it.

Basically, this is a perfect five-minute synopsis of life in Detroit in the middle of 2013. Producing a one-off short video is no great trick. However, based on writing and acting this first episode, Detroit (Blank) City has the potential to be Yacht Rock good.

Read more:  Detroit (Blank) City

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