Is there such a thing as too much romance? Heaven help Julie Gristlewhite, because here comes "Burning Love."
The wildly funny web series from Ben Stiller, Paramount's Insurge Pictures and Omnicon Media Group's PHD agency launched Season 2 of the reality show parody on Valentines Day. Juile, played by June Diane Raphael as the star of a "Bachlorette"-type program, has enough insecurities to fill the pool at the ostentatious mansion serving as backdrop to the insanity.
Fans of reality TV will recognize the usual tropes. The bevy of bachelors vying for her love include a "classy" guy, a "bad boy" and a "prince." (OK, that's not something one usually comes across).
The first episode, available at www.yahoo.com/burninglove, introduces Julie, who failed to win the heart of Mark Orlando (Ken Marino) in the fake dating show from Season 1. She's had a rough time of it since, and is hopeful that love will find her.
After the men pile out of limos in the typically absurd, introductory fashion (one rides a trike, another can't stop babbling about how much he misses his young son and still another -- the so-called prince -- has her bowing and scraping before him.)
Julie has been warned that one of the contestants, Blaze (played with smarmy assurance by Ryan Hansen) already has a girlfriend. This doesn't stop her from drooling over the "Aquatic Hygiene Engineer." In other words, he cleans pools for a living.
There's also a "Luxury Lifestyle Consultant" and a professor, Wally, portrayed with characteristic, endearing awkwardness by Michael Cera, pictured above with Raphael ("I have a great intellect and an even greater allergy to nuts, all nuts.")
Oh, and Colin Hanks drops in via helicopter.
Erica Oyama, who wrote the first season of "Burning Love," returns, with Marino directing. The cast is a who's who of clever comic actors such as Adam Scott and Martin Starr, who did their time on other clever shows, including Starz' orginal series, "Party Down,"or the CW's "Veronica Mars."
Season 1 of "Burning Love" makes its television debut February 25 as part of E!'s "Mock Block Monday." The show will run weekly as seven, half-hour episodes, with appearances by Stiller, Adam Scott (who is one of the bachelors in Season 2), Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Christine Taylor and Jennifer Aniston.
The course of true love rarely runs smoothly, but you know you're in for a bumpy ride here. As the men settle in with the usual stupid cocktail party, Julie reveals a bit of her strategy: "My plan for tonight is really to hang out with as many guys as possible, and to not go to any of my dark places."
We'll drink to that.