A Song-by-Song Look at Amazon’s Browsers, from the Interns’ “Life” to Bebe’s Big Number

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If Bebe Neuwirth’s performance of the gloriously profane “Someone With Whom …” in the Amazon original pilot Browsers reminded you of a certain Broadway classic, well, there’s a reason for that.

We asked Browsers creator David Javerbaum to tell us about that song and the rest of show’s soundtrack, which features music by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Brendan Milburn (and is available for free at Amazon MP3):

"My Life"

Music by Brendan Milburn, a wonderful composer and friend I have known for almost 20 years. It introduces the four interns both individually and as a group, so it had to be long – 3 1/2 minutes, much longer than the typical song in the show, but necessary to have a real “opening number” feel. The tune Brendan wrote is catchy and irresistible. As for the title, yes I’m aware of the Billy Joel song, but it was the perfect hook for this song. It will not happen again. There will not be a “Piano Man” song in Episode Two.

"Goin’ Viral"

The music is by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, my collaborator on many other past projects and an all-around protean musical force. It has a nice Chemical Brothers sound.

"When I Tweet"

Music by Schlesinger. Very anthemic. I’d like to add another verse, give it a real ending and release it a single. I think the Twitterverse would really like it. Particularly if we could get the Bieb to cover it.

"It’s Not Like"

Music by Milburn. A lovely delicate AABA waltz with a tricky little melody and some amazing orchestration – check out the pizzicato!

"Someone with Whom Not to F—-"

Music by Milburn. Evocative of “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees, but deliberately so – Bebe was once Lola, and Julianna [the interns’ terrifying and powerful boss] is very much like what Lola would have evolved into had the devil retired and given her the job.

Read more from Javerbaum about the show.

Amazon Pilots Inside Story: David Javerbaum on Browsers, Bebe, Music and More

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When the characters in Browsers feel something, they don’t just say it. You don’t just see it. They sing it. They even dance it. And they do it with such wit – almost like an 11-time Emmy award-winning writer for The Daily Show is putting words in their mouth.

And one is: David Javerbaum. He’s actually got a dozen Emmys, having picked up one for the song “Broadway: It’s Not Just For Gays Anymore,” which so memorably opened the 65th Tony Awards. And he’s also an author (The Last Testament: A Memoir By God; What to Expect When You’re Expected: A Fetus’ Guide to the First Three Trimesters).

Browsers, one of 14 Amazon original pilots now playing for free at Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM,  is about four interns at Gush, a content-aggregating website (a la The Huffington Post or The Daily Beast) founded and run by the charismatic but mysterious Julianna Mancuso-Bruni (Bebe Neuwirth). “The show pokes fun at modern workplaces, the media, and more specifically Gush — starting with its penchant for deriving most of its content by cutting and pasting material from other websites,” Javerbaum said.

We asked Javerbaum about the setting of Browsers, the terrific cast, and the challenges of mixing comedy and music.

Why this world, why these characters?

I’ve long considered The Huffington Post the quintessential cultural artifact of our time in terms of what it covers, how it covers it, and why it remains popular. It literally provides a window into the state of the world, and so I thought setting a show there and making the entirety of its universe fair game for our show — would provide an enormous amount of material.

As for the characters, as soon as I began formulating ideas for musical television shows, I knew I wanted the leads to be young people in their 20s, because that’s the age where you have the most energy, passion, uncertainty, and all that other good interesting quirky singable stuff. 

How does having music in the show adds to the experience/story?

The songs serve a different purpose here than they do in shows like Smash and Glee, not only because they are original, but because they are not “actually” happening. Rather, the songs are internal, taking place inside the character’s heads, meaning they are bound only by the laws of imagination and not by reality. 

Read More

Goin' Viral - Constance Wu

Goin' Viral

by Constance Wu
album Amazon Originals "Browsers" Soundtrack [Explicit]

From the Amazon original pilot, Browsers, written by David Javerbaum. The music is by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne.

See more Amazon original comedies (several with free music) here.

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Amazon Studios Comedies and Kids’ Pilots: Leading the Way in Views, and Reviews

Amazon pilotsFollowing their Friday debut, the new Amazon Originals TV pilots from Amazon Studios were the most watched TV shows across Amazon Instant Video over the weekend, making up 8 out of 10 of the most streamed episodes across the video service. Already thousands of customer reviews have been submitted with 80% at ratings of 4 and 5 stars.

"For the past year the Amazon Studios team has collaborated with some of the best actors and writers in Hollywood to produce top-quality shows. Now we’ve handed the remote to our customers to hear what they think," said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. "In just a few days the pilots have received thousands of helpful and sometimes hilarious reviews. Keep the feedback coming—and help us decide which pilots will be turned into full series."

Here’s a sampling of feedback from customers since the pilots’ launch:

  • Alpha House: “I was extremely surprised at how much I liked this show. It’s intelligently written. What most surprised me was the production quality. Could pass as a show on HBO.”
  • Betas: “Loved it. Laughed. Cringed. Laughed more. Can’t wait to see the development in future episodes. Where are they—they ready yet? ;)”
  • Browsers: “Bebe Neuwirth could read the phone book and I’d be there. Fortunately, she does a lot more than that! Endearing cast, funny situations. Something I would come back and watch week after week.”
  • Dark Minions: “There is definitely nothing like this out there right now. It’s witty, well written, and is just a fantastic concept in general. The stop motion animation is sharp and well done, and it would be great to get some more of that on the air. All in all, an awesome show.”
  • Onion News Empire: “Our only complaint was that not enough time was allowed to laugh in between laughs. :) We loved the absurdist comedy!”
  • Supanatural:”I loved this pilot! I laughed out loud many times. I loved the ending. I want to see what happens next. I loved all the characters. Please make more episodes!”
  • Those Who Can’t: “I love these guys as teachers! I would watch this over and over again. Quirky, funny, adult humor. Are there more episodes?”
  • Zombieland: “I really enjoyed the movie and this reminds me of a fresh take on the film. Same but different. Like the English version of The Office vs. the American version. Loved them both. This was funny, campy, a little gory and well-paced with tons of action. The opening is fantastic. Actors were great and thought they had solid chemistry.”
  • Annebots: “What a great show! Preschoolers have a lot of educational TV options out there but there’s less and less educational stuff for older kids. This really should be on TV. It was also great seeing non-stereotypical characters too.”
  • Creative Galaxy: “My 5-year-old loved this and wants more. He especially liked ‘when they created the library and used paint.’ Please make more!”
  • Positively Ozitively: “This show is amazing. My daughter loved it and I did too. She is asking to watch more!! She also enjoyed seeing how it looks before it’s animated.”
  • Sara Solves It: “Loved this…has everything a great preschool show should have…compelling characters, social emotional learning, a curriculum seamlessly weaved into it, cute songs, and an easy-to-follow but relatable story.”
  • Teeny Tiny Dogs: “As a former preschool teacher, I think little ones will be entertained by this program, especially if the ever charming Henson puppets are used in the final production. The lessons are sweet and gentle, humor on their level, and concepts appropriate and relatable. Four stars until I get the opportunity to see the final product—then I bet it moves to a five.”
  • Tumbleaf: “Magical—no other way to put it—I haven’t seen a kids show with such a distinct look and feel in many, many, many years. The viewer is literally transported to this whimsical world where imagination rules. The look is beautiful and the stop motion is charming. This is the type of show that a parent would want to sit with their preschooler to watch. Reminds me of Mr. Fox, and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”

"Just like in Zombieland, where there are no rules, Amazon is throwing out the rules of conventional television and bringing the power to the viewer,” said Rhett Reese, co-creator of the comedy Zombieland, along with Paul Wernick. Wernick adds, “It’s really exciting to be doing something different that has the potential to change the way this industry works.”

Comprehensive cast and crew information for each of the Amazon Originals pilots, including bios and filmographies, is available on Amazon’s IMDb.

Amazon Studios has an open door for creators, and continues to invite writers to submit their proposals for comedy and children’s programming.