The second episode of Viceland’s new half-hour comedy series WHAT WOULD DIPLO DO? was clearly meant to be the first. For one thing, the episode carefully goes through each of the principal cast and introduces them to the audience. This would have been helpful last episode as I found it hard to catch everyone’s names and relationships to the titular character of Diplo with the rapid fire dialogue and extremely short scenes. It truly is a show for the attention-span deprived generation (of which I may as well be one).
This episode even set up the documentary style shoot of the show, introducing the film makers who are following around Diplo and his crew, an outfit called “Noisey.” I probably enjoyed this episode more than I did last, and it feeling like a true introduction to the world and cast of the show surely had a lot to do with it. This installment, entitled “The Cult” basically tells the story of how Diplo writes and creates a song. How does a “cult” become involved? Well, that’s a good question. We first meet Diplo’s obnoxious childhood friend Jasper being obnoxious for the documentary camera outside the front house, calling him names and cussing at him wildly, until he admits he’s just joking and invites them in.
In the kitchen we meet the crew including Karen, Diplo’s personal assistant, who has quite a lot to handle. There is also Jurgen aka “Kroner,” the German numbers guy who provides statistical analysis and logistical support for Team Diplo, played by the seriously funny H. Michael Croner. Brian, Diplo’s manager, is played by a long-haired mustachioed Bobby Lee of MadTV fame, and it is Brian who brings up the fact that Diplo desperately needs a hit in order to “feed the beast.” When Diplo shuffles in for his morning coffee (and asks where it is before realizing he’s holding a mug of it already) Brian and the team try to get Diplo focused, which is as hard of a task as you would imagine.
In one of the episode’s funnier bits, Kroner tries to explain statistically why Diplo should make a song upbeat with emotional undertones and 128 beats per minute, to which Diplo’s response is “Did you learn how to have sex from a book?” He goes on to imitate Kroner (complete with German accent) reading from the hypothetical sex book: “Thrust your hips in and out until you hear moans…” He doesn’t finish because Kroner leaves, clearly upset. He later comes back and explains that he DID in fact learn about sex from a book but only because he cared about the person very much and wanted to be good. Brian snaps them back into focus: they need to get to work on that hit!
Enter the next DJ “cameo”: the uber-nice Skrillex. He’s come in to collaborate with Diplo on said hit and he’s all smiles and compliments (he hugs Kroner, telling him he smells good). And then Skrillex and Diplo retire (with the documentary crew) to a room where they throw ideas back and forth. Skrillex starts by introducing a riff he came up with but Diplo doesn’t like the sound: “What is that, a dolphin getting a blowjob?” From there the two get in a battle of passive aggression worthy of a married couple decades deep. It is even revealed the two share a therapist to work out arguments like this. In the end Skrillex leaves, explaining to the documentary guys that this is just how they exchange ideas and that he thought it was actually a productive meeting. But still not hit.
Vexed, Diplo tries to find a new sound that nobody has ever heard before. This involves, among other things, getting a bunch of children who look like him to play instruments at once and recording the sound of him blending a violin in a literal blender. When this STILL doesn’t satisfy him, Diplo locks himself in the studio for seven days only asking for food and the occasional woman. Karen expresses to the documentary crew that she is worried–how productive could he possibly be by himself, alone in that room? Soon Brian is demanding he open the door before he breaks it down. When they are let into the studio, they see the work of a mad-man–post-it note’s stuck to the walls, jars of pee (“You animal, there’s a bathroom right there!” Brian exclaims). There’s even a rat crawling around in the filth. Diplo walks his people through some nonsense about the Hebrew numerical value for music and his Scorpio sign somehow adding up to 128 beats per minute–exactly what Kroner suggested earlier in the episode. But STILL no song. “I just need a half hour more and I’ll have it,” Diplo proclaims.
Cut to one month later, Diplo is dressed in all white sporting a Taliban worthy beard saying he made the mistake of thinking the answer was in his mind; “The answer is in all of us,” he says. And we see that his entire crew, minus Brian, is dressed in white. This is the cult the episode is titled after. They sit outside seemingly meditating, but oddly there is still no song writing going on. Kroner confesses he is the happiest he’s ever been though! Things are getting scary when Karen tells the group she is going to sacrifice herself, grabbing a knife–and just as she does the rat emerges from where she pulled the knife and walks across a keyboard making a sound almost identical to what Skrillex originally introduced earlier in the episode. That’s it! That’s the song! Diplo stops Karen from stabbing herself to death and they all celebrate because Diplo’s become creatively unstuck and (hopefully) has a hit on his hands. Kroner’s the only one that is unhappy to see the cult dissipate.
Overall, the second episode, in my opinion, was funnier and set up the world and characters way better than the premiere. If I wasn’t hooked after the pilot, I am now. This show is legitimately creative and funny, and I’m looking forward to the remaining episodes.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
What Would Diplo Do? airs Thursday at 10PM on Viceland
Paul Gulyas | Contributor