“Fantasizing aside?” says vlogger genius Ze Frank in a recent installment of his daily three-minute webcast The Show (zefrank.com/theshow), answering a viewer’s question as to what exactly motivates this frenetic exercise in freestyle news commentary, political snarl, and raggedly personal hilarity. “A side of what? Bacon? Amanda Congdon likes bacon and she has her own Wikipedia entry. I don’t. I think that answers part of your question.”
It doesn’t, really, but if you don’t need Wikipedia to tell you that Amanda Congdon is the bright-eyed host of mega-trafficked Rocketboom, the daily five-minute exercise in canned news commentary, political niceness, and scripted sort-of-funniness that’s been anointed the future of online video, then you’ve probably wondered the same thing nine out of 10 persons who even give a crap about the future of online video do after an episode or two of Congdon’s shtick: Is this as good as it gets? Ze Frank’s answer to this one, thankfully, is an unequivocal no, delivered five days a week straight from whatever hotel room or bad hair day he’s in.
Even better, Congdon’s heard the message herself—Frank’s charmingly stalkerish love taps having finally got her attention, it seems—and her on-screen shout-outs/shout-ats in response have brought some welcome soap-operatic spice to Rocketboom and well-deserved publicity to The Show (including, at last, Ze Frank’s very own Wikipedia entry). Some might read their public rivalry as a portrait of irreconcilable tensions in the nascent vlogging scene—commercial vs. independent, contrived vs. authentic, Manhattan vs. Brooklyn—but it’s surely not so irreconcilable as that. The two look like they might have hung out with the same crowd in the same prep school, actually, winning points with good looks and wackiness and each so clearly meant for the other that they hated each other’s guts. And me, I’m with the crowd that mostly wonders when they’ll drop the act and get a room.