Paid Programming is a sitcom-style, behind-the-scenes look at an infomercial production company. In this episode, intense talking, borderline creepy psychopath Terry Davidson (Michael Lehrer) is selling his new product, a bluetooth rosary headset that allows one to pray and talk to God direct. Behind the camera is nerdy with low self esteem Tom (Timmy Mayse), Ray (Greg Hollimon) is on the boom and Kate (Kate Duffy) is… the director? The producer? She seems to be in control, whatever she is. As the short rolls along, Tom finds himself seduced by the salesmanship of Terry, with all the consequences that could entail.
Filtered via a unique editing pace and soundwork, watching Paid Programming is a lot like trying to stand on a rocking boat. You can do it, but you’re never going to feel entirely comfortable with your feet beneath you. As uncomfortable as that can be, it can also be exhilarating if you embrace the challenge to your comfort zone; I definitely embraced it.
The short has a very unique sense of humor; very dry with more than a touch of the absurd. The pacing feels a little off, and statements exist in space and the actors just seem to find them, whether they fit the exact narrative or not. I loved it, but even I needed a short amount of time to acclimate to the style (because at first that human nature need to try and classify things and ask “what is this?” was in effect). Once I decided to just go with it, though, I couldn’t get enough.
Will future episodes involve a different client, or will Terry Davidson return with new products to sell? Either idea would work for me, because the former would allow for new levels of absurd but the latter would allow me more time with the fun, yet creepy as Hell Terry. Regardless, I want to see what comes next.
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