Yahoo! debuted its first batch of web series last year via its video site Yahoo! screen, and they had a massive success right off the bat with Burning Love, a Bachelor parody starring Ken Marino and written by Erica Oyama. Today marks the launch of Burning Love’s second season, with the incredibly funny June Diane Raphael (NTSF:SD:SUV) playing the lead role this time around. The contestants this year are played by an impressive bunch of comedians and comedic actors that includes Michael Cera, Adam Scott, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, and tons more. Burning Love is also making the jump to TV on February 25th, when doubled-up episodes will begin airing on the E! network, and a third all-star season will debut later this year on Yahoo! I recently had the chance to talk to June Diane Raphael and Ken Marino, who directed Burning Love, about the new season, the reality shows that inspired them, and how June is so much funnier than Ken.
Are you guys big fans of reality shows? Are there reality show characters you’ve based you performances on?
June Diane Raphael: Yes, there’s the Bachelorette Ashley from whatever season that was. I talked to Erica Oyama, the writer, about her journey on that show and what she was up to. That’s definitely a source of inspiration.
Ken Marino: I enjoy reality shows. The whole conceit that reality is taking over television, pushing written stuff out – now with cable and everything, I feel like there’s room for both. I enjoy a good reality show. Are they all good? No, but when they are good, they’re fun to watch. Uh, I don’t remember what the question was.
[Laughs] So, are you excited to jump to E! with the show?
Marino: Yeah, it’s really exciting. It’s fun that it’s going there, and I’m curious if people will watch it on E! and enjoy it for its silliness. I hope they do. We’re excited that we’re in bed with E!
Was that ever something you expected to happen?
Marino: To be sleeping with E!? No, we tried to make a funny web series and thought that’s where it would end.
Raphael: Did you write any letters to them?
Marino: I wrote letters to them, but it was not about the show. It was just like writing letters to E!
What kind of letters would you write them?
Marino: Like when you’re away at camp and you write like you’re homesick. I would write like I was homesick and I wanted to be back at E! It’s weird. It had nothing to do with the show.
Raphael: They say in this town, though, that whatever way you can get in, you gotta get in. And I think that’s a great example of that.
How’s the second season of Burning Love different compared to the first one?
Marino: June is much funnier than I am.
Raphael: That’s only your opinion, and a lot of others have been saying that too, whether they’re right or not. I’m certainly not gonna come out and say that. I have heard it. You know, I have heard it a number of times. I’ve said it to myself…
Marino: I think the main difference is I was okay and June is very good.
Raphael: They say that the distance from good to great is enormous…
Marino: And you’ve covered that span.
Raphael: Again, I don’t want to say these things, but if someone else would like to, that’s fine.
Marino: I’m saying it out loud for the world to know and for your recorder to know. The second season is a fun flip side to the first season. Mark was all about himself and invested in only him, and this season, Julie is truly trying to find love with a bunch of dudes who are there just trying to be on TV. So, it’s a slightly different chemistry.
What portion of reality stars do you guys think are just trying to get on TV?
Raphael: I don’t know when it started off, [but] now, people sort of know their characters on the show and they sort of have a sense of how they’ll be edited. I think there’s more of a performance of selves going on now.
Marino: There’s been an evolution of people who want to be on reality shows. In the beginning, when reality started becoming a big thing, I think people came on and didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know that they would be manipulated and didn’t know how people would perceive them or if they could become a celebrity or something. Now, these people go on these shows specifically to become famous or get on tabloids or make a name for themselves or as a way into the entertainment world. And also, they’re looking for love [Laughs].
You guys have a great cast this season. What was it like to work with everybody?
Raphael: It was amazing. The amount of talented actors and comedians was crazy. It was incredible. I love all of them. It was great because so many of them are our friends and loved ones. There’s a certain vocabulary that I think everybody shares. It was really fun.
Marino: There is a big difference between the first season – directing it and working with a bunch of women – and the second season being a bunch of dudes because all these guys, it’s very hard to control and wrangle them and keep them focused. The first season, the girls were so professional and so funny and right there, doing shit. Then, the guys would come in, and you’d be like, “Where the fuck are they?” You’d be running from room to room, trying to get the guys in one room to do a scene.
Raphael: And the girls would show up with their scripts highlighted, with notes on the side of the page. It was hilarious. It was very different in that sense.
Marino: Very different energy, but equally as fun and, I think, equally as funny.
What’s it been like to spend more time behind the camera instead of starring in the show this season, Ken?
Marino: It was fun. The first season was slightly stressful just because I was in it a lot and still trying to make the day and direct it and get everything we were trying to get. [This season], there was a little bit more freedom to see what we were shooting and be able to control that a little bit more and to know that we were getting the shots that I wanted and the takes that I wanted. I think it also helped in performance in talking to the actors to make sure they were getting what they wanted to do. I was talking to June about this today. Just watching her outtakes, there’s things that we didn’t do. There was a lot of time to play with stuff. It was fun. Both are fun, but not being in it as much was a little more freeing.
Raphael: And it is important to say, Ken essentially directed two motion pictures in 18 days. It was a herculean task. It was an unbelievable job.
Marino: We shot a lot of pages in a very short amount of time, but that’s a testament to all the actors who came and were really funny and went with it. We were demanding a lot. We were shooting 18 to 20 pages a day.