Adapted from the Web, Secret Girlfriend is in essence comedy as single-player videogame, with the camera standing in for the show's twentysomething protagonist as he pals around with goofball roommates and juggles two women -- a psychotic (but hot) ex-girlfriend who won't stay "ex," and a new (and also hot) gal who seems refreshingly normal. Fitfully funny, there's undeniable energy but also obvious limitations to this approach, which perhaps explains each half-hour's segmentation into back-to-back 11-minute episodes -- a format regularly associated with Saturday-morning cartoons. Such is the perceived attention span of young guys.
When the show begins, the hero (that would be us) is in the midst of his latest break-up with Mandy (Alexis Krause), and his buddies Phil (Derek Miller) and Sam (Michael Blaiklock) endeavor to cheer him up by getting him laid. On a beer run, he encounters Jessica (Sara E.R. Fletcher), who clearly likes him, based on the way she keeps winsomely leaning in toward the camera.
The buddies, meanwhile, try to create viral Web videos and do things like eat lunch at a strip club because they actually enjoy the food. The surly Mandy follows them, stripping herself. And so it goes.
Expanding their web product, Jay Rondot and Ross Novie approach their task with all the finesse of a beer commercial, but it's periodically effective -- and a bit like virtual porn. It's also indicative of the inherent difficulty in migrating online quick hitters -- built for visual gags, without all the bother of plots -- onto television.
Still, one can easily see "Secret Girlfriend" generating a cult following, and the concept is perfectly tailored to the kind of Web crossover promotion that Comedy Central has in mind.
Besides, if the series doesn't work, the channel can always dice it up and toss the funniest bits online -- right back, come to think of it, where they best belong.