Viceland, the new TV channel co-owned by Vice Media and A&E, debuted the trailer for its first scripted comedy today. What Would Diplo Do? is a mockumentary series about the DJ, producer, and record executive who’s played a huge part in what pop music is in 2017. Along with Skrillex, he’s one half of Jack Ü, and he kicked off Justin Bieber’s dance hall renaissance; his studio, The Mausoleum, cultivated major works by M.I.A., Santigold, Shakira, and Christina Aguilera; his primary project Major Lazer has pumped out the dance song of the summer for nearly a decade; and he produced two tracks on Beyoncé’s Lemonade. He’s super successful, and in this series, he’s also a moron who puts a violin in a blender and bounces around like a toddler.
Diplo is played by James Van Der Beek, who lampooned his own celebrity in 2012 by playing himself on Nahnatchka Khan’s short-lived (and criminally underappreciated) ABC sitcom Don’t Trust The B in Apartment 23. That show took plenty of its jokes from Van Der Beek’s career as a ‘90s teen icon on Dawson’s Creek and the inherent idiocy of rich teen prodigies, and it appears he’s reusing many of those bits here.
It looks like the show could be funny, but it’s also pretty convenient for Viceland to list inspirations like Louie, WorldStar HipHop, and This Is Spinal Tap, but neglect to mention Khan’s direction of Van Der Beek’s oddly specific comedic talents. Or, even more glaringly, The Lonely Island’s 2016 summer hit Popstar, which ridiculed viral music stardom in general and paid special attention to Bieber. Vice can crib from that movie’s sensibility all it wants, but it’ll be hard to match the bizarro catchiness of its original songs.
Hopefully, at least, it’s also a deliberate choice not to mention any of Hollywood’s awful attempts at chronicling the EDM era. Maybe we’ll get through this one without an after-school special about ecstasy.
The series debuts on Viceland on August 3rd.