“A God Named Pablo”: Magnificent Modern Mythology [Part One]
April 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Thoughout the centuries, artists and writers have turned to Greek mythology for inspiration. Recently, a group of filmmakers and actors in Los Angeles led by Jeff Hirbour have done the same, with superlative results.
In A God Named Pablo, the Olympian gods descend on Los Angeles when a portal briefly opens, offering them the opportunity to obtain the mythic Golden Fleece. There, they reveal to Jake James, the everyman protagonist, that he’s actually half god. And the hijinks begin.
While I haven’t totally figured out the plot yet, its clever twists and turns have kept me completely engrossed. AGNP features a gang of talented and entertaining actors who bring every scene to life and turn even the most preposterous scenario into an occasion for laughs. Hirbour’s entertaining scripts are complemented by quality production values. This is a cut above the usual web series.
I highly recommend that you check it out.
The series stars Jake Brown as Jake James, who begins the series as a dorky Los Angeles wannabe without much going for him and zero game with the ladies. But once he meets his half-brother Cal Carr (Jeff Holden), he finds out that his dad was actually the Greek God Zeus. Pretty soon, Jake is chilling with deities, jumping through portals, exploring his powers of indestructibility, and even upping his pimp game. THE HERO’S JOURNEY y’all!
These kind of tales live and die by their lead actors, and Brown is perfectly cast as the naive and upstanding Jake James. His half-brother Cal is an alcoholic DB with a heart of gold who schools him in the ways of the gods, despite making off with his dream girl Scarlett Ray (Virginia Welch).
These two embark upon an epic quest that brings them face to face with a variety of entertaining characters, while they try to carry out the wishes of their dad Zeus — or as he likes to be called these days, Pablo.
#1: “Of Minotaurs and Men”
“This feels like LA. Big flavor of desperation in the air. Also, I can see the Capitol Records building from here…”
At the series’ outset, Jake is taking Scarlett (played in the early episodes by Elizabeth Holcomb) out on what he thinks is their first big date, oblivious to his location deep behind the lines of the Friend Zone. As he proceeds to humiliate himself by giving her a gift of frosting shots, a minotaur bails him out with a sneak attack. He takes an epic beating before Cal shows up to intercede, kind of.
As exciting as it is to find out that he’s a demigod and meet his unknown brother, Jake learns to his dismay that Scarlett used to smash the homie.
#2: “The Last Sons of Zeus”
“Mother is many things. Beautiful? Yes…intoxicating. Faithful? No.”
The second episode is heavy on exposition but it introduces some key characters like Megan Sullivan (Laurie Scott), who harbors an unrequited crush on her roommate Jake, and consequently spends a lot of time player-hating on Scarlett.
Megan turns out to work for the highly memorable villain, Sebastian Eros (Bryant Romo), who’s spent centuries playing Cupid and now seeks the Golden Fleece as the key to Olympian power.
Eros is a millionaire matchmaker with a dashing air and a fondness for alliteration (I feel that, bro). He’s in cahoots with his mother, Aphrodite (the superbly well-cast Aurelia Scheppers) and the minotaur, whose name turns out to be Tori (Tom MacDonald). There’s no shortage of scheming from this posse!
#3: “Action and Opinion”
“UPS can suck on my balls.”
Episode 3 starts off magnificently by introducing Thomas Bigley as Hermes, the profane and debauched messenger of the gods. The dude delivers “Fuck off!” with a singular charm.
We also encounter Scott Hartman as Pablo (aka Zeus) hanging out in a sort of Ghetto Olympus with Aphrodite and her posse of sorority girls. Hartman’s world-weary yet intense performance as the leader of the gods is one of the standouts in Jeff Hirbour’s excellent ensemble.
And I’m just gonna put it out there, every scene with Aphrodite in it is good. Na mean?
So, the plot thickens. Pablo wants the dudes to find the fleece. Cal continues to clash with everyone he encounters, while Jake begins to accept his place in the Olympian drama. The quest is on!
#4. “Hold My Sword”
“Did you really have to put a knife on the end of the arrow?”
In the fourth episode, the boys drink for 10 days straight, and Cal whales on Jake to test the extent of his indestructibility. Meanwhile, Sebastian Eros convinces Megan to join the dark side of the force.
There’s a well-executed binge drinking montage that benefits a great deal from the musical stylings of composer Bear McCans. In fact, AGNP is packed with fine, original soundtrack work. It’s a rare treat in the age of copyright piracy.
Also, Tom MacDonald’s minotaur character gets better with every episode…
#5: “Doorman for 10,000 Days”
“Apparently being a god isn’t enough when you can be all intense and broody, and grow a sweet Commander Riker beard.”
With Virginia Welch making her first appearance as Scarlett in place of Holcomb, we learn more about her past with Cal, including some side action that Scarlett got with the as-yet-unseen Billy, who has been mysteriously referenced throughout the last couple of episodes.
Some of Cal’s shit talking about Billy hit a little too close to home for this viewer: “So he wrote a couple plays, a few poems. Now he blogs about the Jersey Shore.” I see nothing wrong with that!
Meanwhile, Jenny Ashman appears as Lucy in a highly winning performance; she’s an attractive, available doctor/real estate agent who quickly develops a crush on Jake. Love interest alert! Ten bucks says she gets kidnapped by the bad guy before this is all over.
Back in Ghetto Olympus, Zeus/Pablo is bugging out over the years-old disappearance of his wife/sister, Hera. Too bad the other gods are too busy causing mischief and plotting against him to give him an assist on that.
If you aren’t hooked by now, then I cannot help you, you are a lost cause. For those of you with taste, I’ll return soon with another set of eps of “A God Named Pablo,” in which we finally meet Billy, get riddled by the Sphinx, and hear from the best talking-booze character in the history of Youtube.
If you’re desperate for another AGNP fix in the meantime, however, check them out on Facebook.