Coming from the “weird mind” of comedienne, writer, and producer Charlie Gelbart is the hidden camera, man on the street web series The Charlie Orange Show. The characters depicted in The Charlie Orange Show represent “internal struggles that Charlie noticed amongst her peers as well as in herself.” The show had always been an idea that Charlie wanted to pursue, but the task of a hidden camera show seemed “daunting” so it was put on the back burner for a while. It wasn’t till “one of the characters came to [her] in a dream” that she got the “catalyst” to pursue the series. Described as “antagonizing,” the series offered Charlie the chance to push many of society’s buttons.
Like many hidden camera shows, reactions are mixed. Most feedback has been positive as people took things in stride. Charlie discussed how people would walk by her Charge Orange character and shake their head while commenting, “Only in Venice. Only in San Francisco could this be happening.” People were hesitant to spoon with her, “until they saw others doing it and that would help in letting their guard down.” Not everyone was happy with her experiment. Charlie recalled an incident in which “a man three times [my] size kind of roughly pushes Charlie off.” At the same time a street performer hit Charlie Orange as people essentially stood around and did nothing.
Quite a bit of time and development went into The Charlie Orange Show including a character that was created, but never used. Charlie had the idea for a character known as Sharlene, a redbox reviewer from Mobile, Alabama. The character would “run up to individuals at redboxes and give them not very good reviews of films they were hoping to rent, in the sake of saving them a few bucks.” Brenda the Bride’s preparation seemed to be the most intriguing as Charlie spent weeks speaking to men on Match.com with the goal of setting up dates. You can only imagine the horrified looks on the faces of her dates when they show up to find her fully adorned in a wedding dress.
Using the show as an opportunity to examine the norms of society, I was curious if Charlie felt that she had achieved the goals she set out to conquer. Charlie’s take was that through it all, “people are looking for a connection.” This was none more evident then when she encountered a man in the free spooning episode that stated, “this is probably the most love I’ve ever had.” Another meaningful connection made during the show was when “two young ladies came back to apologize to Fat Barbie after degrading her hours earlier.”
While the concept of The Charlie Orange Show isn’t new, the show still delivers an intriguing message. In a society so wrapped up with fitting the norm, it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be corky and original. As Charlie stated when it comes down to it all we truly seek in life are “connections”. Whether it’s connections with family, a significant other or a complete stranger.
Charlie plans to release a new episode of the series every Tuesday and Wednesday over the next few weeks. New Brenda the Bride episodes will be released on Tuesdays while Wednesday will feature either Charlie Orange or Fat Barbie.