To Supernatural fans, Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict might be best known as Gabriel and God, respectively. In their new web series the Supernatural alums are hoping to get fans to know them by different names, their actual names … well, kind of. In the vein of several other web series, most notably Con Man, Rich and Rob have created a web series inspired by their own lives and their interaction with the Supernatural fandom at fan conventions. Kings of Con is part love letter to the Supernatural fandom, part autobiography and part fantastic buddy comedy.
Inside the World Behind Supernatual
A Supernatural fan is going to get the most enjoyment out of Kings of Con. Supernatural fans will not only be aware of Rich and Rob, who are named Richard Slate and Rob Bennet in Kings of Con, but they’ll also enjoy the Supernatural actor cameos and meta-references sprinkled throughout the first season. Kings of Con never explicitly states the name of the show that the fictionalized version of Rich and Rob appeared on but it is obviously Supernatural. (There are also a few references to Rob Benedict’s role on Felicity.)
Rob played God on the unnamed show before getting killed off “five seasons ago.” Nearly every actor we meet from the show has appeared on Supernatural and the names of the show’s stars are Justin and Jayden. Kings of Con is not subtle about spoofing the Supernatural fandom, nor should it be subtle.
Some of the best jokes of Kings of Con involve Supernatural and the fandom. Supernatural actor Matt Cohen plays a douchebag, sex-addicted, pompous parody of himself, Matt Cochran. Kim Rhodes AKA Jody Mills on Supernatural is a foul-mouthed jaded actress named Sue. Perhaps the most amusing self-parody is done by Gil McKinney. Best known to Supernatural fans as Henry Winchester, Gil is a wide-eyed, entirely too wholesome and innocent actor on Kings of Con. There are also plenty of references to the moves that Supernatural has made with these actors’ characters on the show, which are all worth a chuckle.
Friendship Becoming Front and Center
Kings of Con is more than a Supernatural parody. The premise of the webseries is based on the life of a bit actor on a popular sci-fi show like Supernatural but the heart of Kings of Con is the interaction between the fictionalized Rich and Rob. Richard Speight and Rob Benedict, obviously drawing upon their real life friendships, are fantastic in Kings of Con.
There’s nothing ground-breaking in the heightened versions of themselves that the two actors play in Kings of Con. Rich is the boozy, over-confident and irresponsible character while Rob is neurotic, twitchy one, always on the edge of a breakdown. They are The Odd Couple, in other words, but the two actors are having so much fun and have such good chemistry the familiarity hardly matters.
Kings of Con takes place (mostly) in the backstage green rooms of fan conventions but the story is all about Rob and Rich’s friendship. The sets are incredibly minimalist. Episodes typically take place in one or two locations and all that is left is the interaction between the characters, which is where Kings of Con excels. Rob and Rich play off each other so well it will not only make you regret that the two never shared the same screen on Supernatural but also that they don’t already have their own network sitcom.
It would be incredibly easy for Kings of Con to ride on the coattails of Supernatural and only make jokes that fans of the show would understand. Kings of Con is so much more than an inside joke, though. It is a great buddy comedy that, unlike a lot of web series, manages to tell a story with genuine humor and heart. It’s not all slapstick and wacky situations, you really care about (the fictionalized versions of) both Rich and Rob. Kings of Con is not just an excuse for Rich and Rob to poke fun at the Supernatural fandom and themselves. There are actual storylines happening. Even if you take out all the Supernatural references and jokes there is a strong comedy at work in Kings of Con. It is much better than most sitcoms that are currently on network TV, that’s for sure.
The greatest amount of enjoyment in Kings of Con can be found as a preexisting fan. Kim Rhodes’ character is a lot less funny if you don’t know why it is hilarious that she is playing such an awful human being in Kings of Con. Even for a brand-new fan, though, Kings of Con is worth the time, and (because you need a Comic Con HQ subscription to watch) the money to watch it. Kings of Con is one of the rare projects made for fans about fandom that actually pays off. It is certainly one of the best web-series I’ve ever seen and while that bar is not high, it is still an achievement for Kings of Con.
So what do you think? Are you interested in Kings of Con? Will you watch it? What do you think of the chemistry between Rob and Rich? Have you met either of them at fan conventions?
Kings of Con season 1 is streaming now over on Comic Con HQ.
(Image courtesy of Comic Con HQ/Lionsgate)