Diplo has been a polarizing figure in EDM. He was at the forefront of the movement when it switched from “electronica” to “EDM” as a whole; he was one of the artists on the top of the wave and he rode it all the way to the top. Weirdly enough, he was already there, and he ended up coming off as, well, kind of a dick.
A notable example of such behavior includes the infamous Twitter fued with famed German producer Zedd over accusations of plagiarizing young Aussie producer Flume. To which Diplo said, “Don’t be such a pompous cornball loser, also I fucked your girl.”
After the fact, Diplo, real name Thomas Pentz, claimed it’s his sense of sarcasm that people didn’t get, but the damage was already apparent. Diplo garnered attention personally and professionally for his Twitter brand of tongue in cheek satire that no one seemed to understand, becoming legendary within the burgeoning EDM scene as a no-holds-barred Twitter clown, who also happened to make wicked beats.
So, in 2017, when we heard about Viceland’s new special series, What Would Diplo Do?, we had to check it out. Starring James Van Der Beek of Dawson’s Creek in the title role, Diplo’s brother in arms and fellow EDM prankster Dillon Francis as Diplo’s over eager and drug loving friend Jasper, and stand up comedian Brandon Wardell playing OWSLA boss Skrillex. Other credits include Mad TV alum Bobby Lee in a TBA role, and Dora Madison as Diplo’s assistant.
A dramatization of the spat with Zedd is almost verbatim in the first episode. Though this time, Diplo jabs at Calvin Harris, who’s also played by an actor (Tom Stourton), not the actual Calvin Harris. At the same time, Van Der Beek’s also shows us sides of self-doubt, which start to dispel the narcissistic character Diplo created for himself.
Throughout the 5 episode mini series, Diplo allows himself to be the butt of many jokes, including his propensity for making off side comments and tear fellow artists to shreds. Not to mention his friendship and partnership with Skrillex, it reaffirms that Diplo has a sense of humour, especially about himself.
It’s also refreshing to see an original idea in our 2017 stand still of remakes, sequels, and reboots. This shines through as an honest and tactful satire of the EDM world, while showcasing James Van Der Beek’s ability to really mold himself into a character, even with a ridiculous and overblown character (if you haven’t already, please check out his caricature of himself he plays on Don’t Trust The B*** In Apartment 23, a now defunct ABC sitcom).
The show premiered on August 3rd, 2017 and immediately gathered rave reviews, to the surprise of . . . well, everyone. The Hollywood reporter commented on “James Van Der Beek’s oddball lead performance [as] a highlight in a Viceland comedy still trying to find its own identity” in their August 2nd issue. It also garnered an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a seemingly impossible feat in today’s market, especially for an original idea.
All we’ll say is that we hope that this becomes a regular thing because we can’t be the only ones curious about who’s gonna play Major Lazer.
Any ideas? Who else do we hope to see them poke fun of on the show? Let us know in the comments!