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A human puppet for the masses

By Josh Kaercher and Katie Linendoll, Special to CNN
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Seth Green talks ControlTV
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Seth Green and Matt Senreich have launched the online reality webisodes, "ControlTV"
  • Life of unemployed 20-something Tristan Couvares documented, streamed online
  • "Bachelor" director Ken Fuchs, Richard Saperstein and Stephen Kessler helped produce
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(CNN) -- Seth Green and Matt Senreich, known for their maniacally inventive manipulation of action figures on "Robot Chicken," now want the viewing public to have a similar sense of control over a real person.

Their vision arrives in the form of "ControlTV," a new Web series that takes the standard reality format and adds to it an element of interactivity, possibly creating a novel form of entertainment in the process.

Green and Senreich are joined in the venture by "The Bachelor" director Ken Fuchs, former president of Dimension Films, Richard Saperstein, commercial director Stephen Kessler and the full-service video network DBG.

The premise of "ControlTV" is simple: For six weeks, the life of an unemployed 20-something named Tristan Couvares is documented and streamed live on the internet for 18 hours a day. The hook is that he's agreed to relinquish his own free will for that of the collective, meaning viewers can vote on just about everything he does. They'll decide what he eats, where he goes, who he dates, even the frequency and duration of his workouts, all in real time.

To some, this might sound like an opportunity for a bunch of Web-trolling sadists to anonymously mess with a stranger, but Green and Senreich's intentions seem genuinely benevolent. Tristan's at a cross-roads in his life, doesn't have a job, a girlfriend or an abundance of accomplishments, and he's basically not sure what to do with himself. The hope is that viewers will help him figure that out, that the wisdom of the crowd will point him in the right direction.

It helps that Tristan's a likable guy, as his success will probably depend on whether or not the voters are pulling for him. The show's essentially a character study, but not only of Tristan. It's the general character of the audience, or people in general, that will be revealed most tellingly, based on how they treat him.

Lastly, it's worth noting that "ControlTV" is much less filtered than other reality shows. Nothing much happens at times, but that's almost preferable to the overly-contrived situations that typify rest of the genre.

As we watch Tristan make breakfast, click a mouse or sit in a chair, we'll be surprised most of all by the fact that we're still watching, but Green and Senreich understand that even the most mundane moments can become fascinating from a voyeuristic distance.

 
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