Review | What Would Diplo Do?


Viceland has debuted its premiere scripted comedy series with “What Would Diplo Do”. The focus of the series, with 90s teen icon James Van Der Beek at the helm, is none other than EDM DJ and producer Wesley “Diplo” Pentz. His stage name which, mentioned in the first episode and subsequently confirmed through Wikipedia for budding Diplo fans, comes from diplodocus, an extinct species of dinosaurs. But is “extinct” needed when referring to dinosaurs? Aren’t they all extinct? How cool would it be if they weren’t extinct? Or, like, if a dinosaur came back to life and battled like Superman or something. Superman would be all like “yo, don’t try to eat me, dino”, and the dinosaur be like “you’d be delicious though”. Yeah, that’d be dope.

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, Diplo, yeah he’s cool. So, the new Viceland “mockuseries” chronicles the pseudo misadventures of the talented DJ. The idea blossomed from a single promotional trailer for Diplo’s label Mad Decent Block Party during which Van Der Beek made his first appearance as the loveable (or loath-able?) DJ whose social media presence in real life has garnered the reputation of antagonistic, dim-witted bro. The writing, a hat which Van Der Beek also wears on the show (in addition to his label’s namesake ballcap), is fun, quick witted, and perfectly extrapolated.

In the pilot episode, Diplo is scheduled to spend the day with a sick child to fulfill the child’s “last wish”, but, through a mix-up (but mostly Diplo’s kind-hearted assumptions) Diplo ends up spending the entire day with the nephew of his assistant. While Diplo is spending the day with the “sick” child, he is in the midst of a Twitter feud with Calvin Harris; Diplo dictates zings to his social media manager in the hopes of shutting Harris down. Diplo’s show is the final stop for the first episode during which all of the day’s activities, mishaps, and twitter feuds come to a head.

Diplo’s assistant is aghast to find her 12 year old nephew living the lifestyle of an EDM DJ backstage with an abundance of women and vices (it is Viceland after all). Diplo attempts to rationalize and defend his decision to bring the preteen to the show by insinuating that the boy doesn’t have much time left at which point his assistant unveils the truth about the child’s identity. Upon her scolding him, “that’s my nephew!”, Diplo sweetly whispers his concerns, “I didn’t know your nephew was sick.” This illustrates the character’s well-intended but off the mark actions upon which the show is built.  

After the mix-up and the feud, Diplo gets a surprise visitor as he relaxes against his trailer in the final minutes of the show. Calvin Harris stops by to confront Diplo in person about their Twitter exchanges, at which point, Diplo’s face becomes more genuine and apologetic. They hang out and ponder what it means to be a DJ and delve into modern philosophical dilemmas about their craft and lifestyle. For all intents and purposes, this DJ feud is resolved as they commiserate over a Yerba Mate tea.

The series airs Thursdays at 10pm on the Viceland channel for the lucky few who still have cable service. For those without, we’ll just have to wait until Viceland releases the episodes for free. But in the meantime, as we trudge through life without this treasure, let’s all ask ourselves “What Would Diplo Do”?

Watch the first episode: