By: Katy Kleinginna (A Toast) –
Zach Stone is ready to prove he has what it takes to make it as a reality television star regardless of his total lack of marketable talent. Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous is comedian and YouTube sensation Bo Burnham’s television début. Zach Stone stars Burnham as a small town high school graduate facing the choice to either attend college or try his hand at fame as a reality television star. With the help of his high school grocery store career, Zach Stone is financially able to rent out a camera crew to follow him and his friends around to record all of their activities in the summer just after graduation. Stone’s friends have no interest in fame, but support him through each scheme he (poorly) executes. Stone’s friends and parents are often more annoyed than pleased because of his sporadic and hyperactive adventures, but in the end both parties are supportive of his endeavors. This show has everything; friend romances, best buddies, and a title character so awkward and oddball you can’t help but fall in love.
Reality shows are cash cows for networks and cast members. Cast members usually just bicker and make witty, back-biting comments about their colleagues in their 45-minute slots, but America can’t get seem to get enough. Stars of this genre usually find themselves with overnight fame and fortune, with almost no effort put forth. This fame is easily attainable, so it appeals to youth who vie for their fifteen minutes. Barely work now, play really hard later AND get paid for it. Zach Stone falls into this category, but his quest for fame is an easy watch because Burnham is unapologetically himself on and off camera in this mockumentary “reality” series and it really works.
There will never be another show like Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous. The hilariously awkward occurrences reign true and serve as reminder of the anxiety and narcissism every student faces when they think about what’s in store for their lives post-graduation and the fabulous success they all hope for. The best guy friend is in love with the best girl friend, the hot girl wants nothing to do with the nerd until it benefits her and each day brings a new set of struggles. Each episode begins with Zach explaining what new scheme he has conjured up to make him famous and each episode ends with a basic wrap up of what Zach learned about himself and his choice of “career.” The pattern seems contrived on paper, but the talent of the cast and writers gracefully blend these factors together to make you root for Zach and his strange antics.
Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous is as hilarious as it is heart-breaking and it always ends on a high note without the cheese factor of many young adult shows. Unfortunately for Zach Stone, MTV has decided not to renew the series for a second season, so his future success and fame has been left to the imagination of the fans. Though Zach Stone was short-lived, Burnham has already seen great success with his stand up and YouTube videos.
Do a Shot: when the dad gets pissed and the mom covers it up
Take a Drink: when a new desperate scheme is announced
Take a Drink:when negativity is blocked by Zach’s hyperactive optimism
Do a Shot: when the theme song is still stuck in your head days after the show ended