Indie Series: Liza on Demand

Liza Koshy rose to prominence on YouTube as a comedian who joined the famed “Vlog Squad” with her then boyfriend, David Dobrik. Since then, Liza has been producing short form comedic content weekly performing characters, answering questions and dancing...always dancing. Soon, Liza began gaining recognition elsewhere with red carpet walks and appearances in movies and television. She answered 73 questions for Vogue and even interviewed celebrities at the Met Gala. Now, she returns to where it all began with her own YouTube Red series that shares her name- Liza on Demand

Liza on Demand, which premiered in the summer of 2018, follows Liza and her two roommates, Oliver and Harlow as they navigate life and love in Los Angeles. Liza finds success doing odd jobs for people on the app, TaskRabbit, where she often lands in sticky situations. With Orange is the New Black alum Kimiko Glenn playing Harlow and Stranger Things’ Noah Schnapp making a cameo in the first episode, the show proves its production value early on, challenging the likes of millennial comedies on Hulu or Netflix. 

Before the show, Liza spoke to her now seventeen million subscribers on YouTube in a lighthearted and family-friendly way. This project shows Liza in a much more mature light with sexual references, cursing and other adult themes- topics that YouTubers often grapple with including in their videos. Liza acts her age without losing her goofy demeanor. This show remains upbeat and lighthearted yet more suited to the cast and the intended audience, whereas most of her YouTube following came from a younger demographic. The three roommates navigate relationships, jobs and finding purpose in your life as well as your career. Liza talks about the very real struggle of trying to determine a meaningful career path at such a young age. Here, Liza’s character begins to second guess her involvement in trivial work such as delivering flowers or organizing closets for customers on an app. 

The new maturity of the show also comes through to the production’s relevance in social issues. Under the comedy hides a layer of social justice as the characters interact with scenarios that lend to important lessons. Liza confronts an ignorant passerby about the harm that comes with telling a person to smile. The three friends drink to forget who the president of the United State is. Characters speak openly and correctly about gendeerqueer and trans friends. The themes and scenarios in Liza on Demand fit it perfectly into the mold of the present. The only fear is that Liza’s young audience followed her to this new project, where it would be better suited to a young adult audience. 

The series encapsulated the friends in a big city television troupe seen in Friends or How I Met Your Mother, where a group of friends deals with the pressures and changes of city life. Liza on Demand takes this troupe to a new generation as it better fits in the current social climate than similar shows of the past. A new audience of teens and young professionals can see themselves in a way they couldn’t before in the riches and whiteness of sitcoms of the past. The show remains real and honest in every aspect, yet feeds into the drama and excitement that lures young people to New York and L.A. in the first place. With celebrity run-ins and outrageous dessert pop-ups, Liza on Demand does an excellent job of combining the relevant and relatable with the fanciful and exaggerated. 

Now, a year after season one premiered, Liza’s success and celebrity status has only grown as fans look forward to what she will do next. At the end of August, Liza’s released a trailer for season two which will begin streaming on September 25th. The trailer promises the same shenanigans of the three beloved friends- Koshy, Glenn and Travis Coles as Oliver- but with a few added twists thrown in. 

The sneak peak gives fan insight into new regular played by Parks and Recreation’s Jim O’Heir and child star turned YouTuber, Josh Peck. Fans can also look forward to Noah Schnapp reprising his role as a spoiled rich kid who takes advantage of Liza’s low-end job. More known stars joining the cast alludes to a bigger budget, a bigger deal and a bigger production overall. Skeptics of Liza who may have been turned off from the idea of full length programming on YouTube may now be inclined to give the series a watch. Viewers of season one look forward to an improvement of last year’s content. With a hint at a new storyline involving new family members, the show may take a more centralized story format than last season. Season one focused on the day to day of Liza trying to work her way to elite status on the TaskRabbit app with side plots popping up around her. With a new season could be a more streamlined plot involving all three characters (and new ones) throughout. 

The twenty minute, eight episode long project shows Liza’s potential as an actress and a content creator in a way that normal YouTube videos could not. The subject matter and character development prove the show to be television worthy and wide reaching. Fans should be excited for season two to see more of Liza and other familiar faces in a more mature, relevant and entertaining way than ever before.