The Problem With the Bachelor Spoof Burning Love

Creator says many viewers think the show is real

When it comes to spoofing reality hit The Bachelor, Erica Oyama may have done too good a job.

When Oyama and her husband, actor/comedian Ken Marino, created Burning Love for Yahoo, the show was meant to be a blatantly ridiculous sendup of the long-running dating competition. But when the couple started gauging the then Web-only show’s quick rise, particularly its strong social reaction, they noticed something.

“There are large quantity of people who are confused by it," said Oyama. “There were many people who thought it was real. They were confused. People would get into fights on the comments boards [about whether or not it was staged].”

Considering that the series featured Jennifer Aniston dressed up like a panda and The Hangover’s Ken Jeong dressed up like a women, you’d think such confusion would be short-lived. And surely now that the third season is running.

Not quite.

“They know the actors,” said Oyama. “But even now, the reactions have been pretty similar. I hate to say this, but most of the time it’s teenage girls.”

Teens may be thrown by how dedicated the show’s cast, which includes the likes of Nick Kroll, Michael Ian Black and Leslie Bibb, was to feigning earnestness as idiots looking for game show love.

“We tried to approach it in a very sincere way,” says Oyama. “That’s why you’ll see people in the cast acting genuinely excited to go to a puppet show, for example.”

Oyama said that since the show has jumped from Yahoo to E!, its audience has broadened (even to “people who don’t watch Web shows"). She’s pleased to be part of pushing the quality of Web video forward.

“I guess we just approached it like, ‘we’re not going to slack off and do something silly because it’s for the Internet. We're going to make it the best content possible. And we'll do what we think is funny.' It was very freeing to not be concerned about this particular audience or this demo. It was just this weird funny thing we were doing with our friends."

As of now, Burning Love is over (you can also catch season 1 on Hulu). Oyama is working on a screenplay for the Twitter-inspired mock memoir White Girl Problems; she and her husband also have a pilot in the works for Fox. But the Internet may beckon when the right project comes up. Said Oyama: "I would do a Web show again."