When CollegeHumor decided to create an original series for the paywall-protected YouTube Red subscription service, the popular site’s Head Of Video, Sam Reich, wanted to do something that was ambitious yet still true to CH’s slacker humor heritage. The result was Bad Internet, a 10-episode series inspired by Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, the pessimistic and often devastating British anthology program that explores the ill effects that technology and media have on modern life. Bad Internet does the same basic thing, except in a much funnier vein and with a focus specifically on online content. Over at The Daily Dot, writer Rae Votta has the story of how the series came about and what its creators want to achieve with it. “We weren’t just telling jokes,” Reich explains. “We were telling story.”
The first episode, “Which Of The ‘Friends’ Are You?,” is available for free viewing online. It details a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future in which a silly BuzzFeed quiz about Friends has become the basis for a totalitarian nightmare government where Rachels rule and Gunthers serve. Guest stars here include Saturday Night Live veteran Cheri Oteri and character actor Larry Hankin, who played the recurring role of Mr. Heckles on Friends and who is now part of the anti-government resistance. “This doesn’t feel like 100 years in the future,” warns Reich. “It feels like five or 10 years in the future.” Potential Gunthers should consider themselves warned.