Woke Up Dead

Woke Up Dead
In theory, the notion of the internet as a broader, more readily accessible medium for entertainment deemed too provincial or oblique for network television could be a breeding ground for nascent talent and divergent programming. In reality, Marshall McLuhan was onto something when he said "the medium is the message," since the throwaway crap entertainment online is as rushed, uninspired and base as the many amateur websites structured specifically for keyword and headline hits. Woke Up Dead is a prime example of this, clocking in at approximately four minutes per episode, detailing a new discovery in the afterlife of newbie zombie slacker Drex Greene (Jon Heder). Since the direction is non-existent, serving as barely functional ― it's at its peak when characters manage to make it into the frame ― only the single-take, unrehearsed performances and non-stop expositional dialogue propel the flimsy narrative. Drex discovers he has super-speed, rapid healing powers and higher brain functions through medical student and potential love interest Cassie (Krysten Ritter), while obese roommate Matt (Josh Gad) documents and makes the same creepy sex jokes repeatedly. Drex pukes, Matt makes a joke about said puke and Cassie analyzes it, saying something almost resembling medical lingo. Each episode follows this format, only exchanging puke with bullets or mad keyboarding skills. As a side note, most of the props and sets are sloppy and amateurish. For example, there is a subplot halfway through this first season involving a computer-hacking zombie that surreptitiously IMs Drex. In an effort to trace this hacker, Matt hands over a special tracing device to plug into his computer, which, amusingly, is one of those generic website code keys that vendors give to corporations to access secure websites. Could they not have just used a flash-drive or external key logger? Maybe they gave up trying after watching the first few episodes and decided to shoot things high-school-drama-style. The DVD includes a ridiculous amount of supplemental material on the make-up, cast, set tours, zombie logic and so on. Jon Heder points out that this series has taken up a year of his life, which is more than a little depressing. (Sony)