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'Stevie TV' review: Stevie Ryan has a license to mock

The VH1 sketch comedy show cleverly tweaks pop culture.



Stevie Ryan channels Deena from "Jersey Shore." (Ron Jaffe / Getty For VH1 Networks)


By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

March 3, 2012

Stevie Ryan, whose self-starring sketch comedy, "Stevie TV," premieres Sunday on VH1, is an overnight sensation several years in the making. Although Ryan is just now hitting what in old media terms constitutes the Big Time — that is, to say, she is now on an old medium — Ryan has been a New Yorker-profiled Internet star for a while now, best known for the YouTube videos she posted as the chola Little Loca, based on girls she knew and admired growing up in the California high-desert town of Victorville.



On her YouTube channels — she has more than one — you can still see her early work, which includes sweet pastiches of silent films, some chaste "burlesque" and convincingly antiqued "home movies." It feels experimental in an old-fashioned way, or old-fashioned in an experimental way.

"Stevie TV" picks up on a different element in her Web work, one that plays off contemporary celebrity culture and reality television. Her silent-movie fascination does survive here in "Artist Wives," a mash-up of "The Artist" with the VH1 obstreperous-spouses series "Basketball Wives." (Title card: "I heard you were running your chickenhead mouth about me.")

The TV money buys increased technical polish; the parodies and pastiches, including an ABC Family teen soap called "Beautiful Teenage Liars and Their Secret Game of Lies," look just right. There are more writers and a bigger cast. Ryan doesn't appear at all in one good repeating bit, "A Moment With Ryan Gosling," in which the actor (not actually Ryan Gosling) speaks to the women in the audience: "I'm sorry I'm late — I was breaking up a fight between two abandoned puppies and finding them a home with deaf children. Wow, that top really complements your eyes."

With her long face, full lips and sculpted eyebrows, Ryan has a look that is singular yet somehow adaptable to playing a range of parts, including Kendra Wilkenson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber and Drita D'Avanzo from "Mob Wives" (also on VH1 — "Stevie TV" is at times a kind of critical celebration of its host network).

Because much of what the star parodies as good as parodies itself, the jokes seem less harsh than they might — there is little space between the model and the mockery. But there is some affection in the attack. Moreover, her comedy has a solid moral core. This is a show you could play for the (mature) young person in your life to prompt a discussion about bad choices.

In one sketch, Ryan becomes Katy Perry in a music video for a song called "Sexy Mistake." ("There's no rules tonight, because we're girls and we can do whatever we want!"). In another, she's Kim Kardashian appearing in an ad for a Kardashian-based board game.

"Yes!" exclaims one little girl, drawing a fortunate card. "I get paid $18 million to get fake married to an athlete!"

"You're a national disgrace," Ryan-as-Kim exclaims happily. "You win!"



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i randomly caught this show one morning at like 2am and fell in love. id never heard of her but i lold a few times. the justin beiber and kendra skits were great







Tags: internet celebrities, justin bieber, kardashian / jenner, katy perry, lindsay lohan, mob wives (vh1), paris hilton, reality show, reality show - mtv, reality show - vh1, reality show celebrity, ryan gosling, television - cw, the real housewives (bravo), viral
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