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Ben Stiller, Yahoo score with ‘Bachelor’ parody ‘Burning Love’

Leave it to Ben Stiller to school the Internet on creating original programming for digital platforms. He’s one of the executive producers of “Burning Love,” the new Yahoo series launching Monday that is that rarest of things: an online-only production worth telling people to watch.

“Burning” is a note-for-note pitch-perfect satire of the ABC dating show “The Bachelor” that had me howling several times in each of the three episodes available on Yahoo at launch (new episodes roll out every Monday and Thursday through July).

Unfortunately for digital-content ventures, it is incredibly difficult to be funny beyond a one-off viral sensation the likes of which Funny Or Die knows how to produce. So when someone comes along and clears that bar, it’s noteworthy.

The reason “Burning” can do this is Yahoo paid to put real talent on both sides of the camera. The ugly truth of why digital original programming is typically lackluster is that it’s mostly the domain of folks who don’t have the experience of creatives who already proved their mettle in film and TV. It’s no coincidence that “Burning” has solid Hollywood auspices like Stiller, star/director Ken Marino, and Paramount Pictures.

There’s also an insane amount of talent on screen including Malin Akerman, Michael Ian Black, Kristen Bell, Ken Jeong and Adam Scott–just to name a few (keep an ear on the voice coming from the woman inside the panda outfit). When you put together that kind of roster and production values, it screams to the viewer: ‘This is something you have to watch.’ Not like most original programming online, which looks like it was slapped together with scotch tape, bubble gum and Ileana Douglas.

Sure, the “Bachelor” is a pretty moldy target for humor but “Burning” does so many other things right that it needs to be shouted about from a mountaintop (or a Variety blog behind a paywall).

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