Tackling mockumentaries is a tough task. For every Spinal Tap and Best in Show, there’s an A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.
The recently launched Kickstarter-funded webseries Tour Girls London hits the mark on some of the mocku ingredients—a good iconic, baseline topic to spoof and first-rate camera work. The off-camera narrator finds the right balance between asking serious questions and not taking himself seriously. The acting, script, and some of the plot themes in the 14-minute pilot episode, on the other hand, need work.
We follow the story of three young women who ride those red, double-decker buses in London around the city for more than two hours and speak to the wonders of Big Ben and the Tower of London. Microphones in hand, the trio try to be informational and clever. Ashleigh (Grace Blackman) is a hopeful actress who is told by her agent she might want to gain some weight or feign a disability to become more memorable in her auditions. Karen (Amelie Owen) is a rough-and-tumble sort from Wales who lacks and drive or passion and secretly wants to return home. Scarlet (portrayed by series creator/writer Charlotte Cooper-Garcha), is a ditzy worker who has trouble remembering facts and appears to be one strike away from being fired.
If you’ve watched either version of the classic TV mockumentary The Office (British or American), you’ll immediately see what’s missing in Tour Girls. Attempts at the unintentional humor that is the hallmark of this genre fall flat in this webseries. Mockumentaries also require a total acting buy-in from cast members who are unafraid to look foolish in the spotlight of fake, look-straight-in-the camera interviews. These young actors are far too tentative in the opening episode.
Tour Girls London is the well-made suit that appears too baggy during the initial fitting. Some simple alterations and redesign could easily elevate this webseries into a more enjoyable experience.
Screengrab via Tour Girls LDN/YouTube