My Obsession: Bob Byington Dials in to the 555

Austin filmmaker shares his love for new sketch comedy series


John Early and Kate Berlant in 555

[Ed. note: Bob Byington is an Austin-based filmmaker whose new film, Infinity Baby, premieres at SXSW next month. Here, in our new rotating column, he discusses his love for Andrew DeYoung's Vimeo sketch-comedy series.]

It's not easy to find content you love. And then because a lot of content is designed to be binged, or feel sort of disposable, you're almost obliged to blast through the things you find that you like. 555 has a feel where, once you're about halfway done, you start to dread it running out, but you also want to keep watching.

The show, which is five episodes, gets a lot right. Everything in it is completely specific, but it also manages to give off a loose, improvisatory feel – it seems to anticipate the pleasure the viewer will take in how it's constructed, similar to how one gets pleasure from how well a great movie is made, for example. The director is unmistakably skilled, and one begins to understand that, feel it, and appreciate it. In this regard, 555 is similar to another Vimeo program, High Maintenance.

555 is always two actors (John Early and Kate Berlant, both great), in cahoots or collision, portraying, variously: showbiz moms, agents, singers, dancers, extras – all manner of entertainers, in a dizzying array of contexts, and all very simply assured. They have anticipatory chemistry; you don't really run across a pair like them very often.

And an Austin connection – I asked Andrew DeYoung to name three of his favorite movies from the Seventies, and he cited Austin's own Terrence Malick (Badlands and Days of Heaven) for two, with Robert Altman's 3 Wom­en as the third.


Andrew DeYoung’s 555 is available exclusively on Vimeo for the criminally low price of $3.99 for all five episodes. Visit www.vimeo.com/ondemand/fivefivefive to change your life.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

555, Vimeo, Andrew DeYoung, Bob Byington, Karen Berlant, John Early

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