Strip Search, from the team at Penny Arcade, is essentially America’s Next Top Comic Artist. It’s a reality show in which cartoonists compete for the ultimate prize of a place in the Penny Arcade office (and a bit of cash). Penny Arcade, for the uninitiated, is a web comic about gaming and all its tertiary subjects that has grown into a successful company, a fabulously popular convention called PAX, and numerous online shows.
What I find really appealing about Strip Search is that the participants were obviously not cast for television. They’re not there for their smiles or how they look on camera. They’re on the show because they’re all cartoonists and illustrators with promising futures, and they’re all the more charming for being real humans rather than teevee humans. As such, their sincere vulnerability only makes you more emotionally attached and it’s hard to see any of the inevitably neurotic artists be eliminated from the show. Naturally, I’ve since looked up their work online, so they have at least one more follower.
It’s best to start from the beginning and watch the first show. Some of the rough audio mixing and recording is a little annoying, but it’s gotten better as they’ve progressed. But my sympathies are with the production company, who have probably not dealt with so many mics at once. Good audio is incredibly difficult to get. (Do you watch Survivor? It’s a small wonder that you can hear anything on that show because those people aren’t even miked. Audio folks are unsung heroes).
Explore the Strip Search site or just start watching.