We're fairly certain there's not a couple in history that has survived a trip to IKEA without some kind of spat. And that may be the reason why the popular Swedish furniture store didn't notice when a soap opera was filmed inside their Burbank, California, location; with a bevy of squabbles constantly happening between the Billy bookshelves and Malm beds, who's to notice a couple of scripted soap scenes in the mix? And that's how IKEA Heights was born.
The super soapy web series was put together by Paul Bartunek, David Seger, Delbert Shoopman, Spencer Strauss, and Tom Kauffman back in 2009 and features actors Randall Park, Whitney Avalon, and Matt Braunger acting out soap spoof scenes to perfection. The plots involve a sexually humiliated leading man and his amnesiac brother, a slutty wife who's constantly messing up the sheets in the bedding department, a murder-by-smothering in the pillow department (obviously), and a cop stationed at the office furnishings department.
The dramatic happenings in IKEA Heights were an instant success with entertainment critics and Internet crawlers, but the store itself gave mixed reviews.
Said Madeleine L÷wenborg-Frick, a spokesperson for IKEA's Canadian branch: "We think it's funny. We see the humor in it and we approach our own marketing with a similar tongue-in-cheek humor. But unauthorized filming in our stores isn't a good thing. There are proper channels that people who want to film in our stores can go through."
But, as Seger points out, permission pretty much always ruins virality, meaning guerilla filmmaking is often essential.
"Every web job I've ever had, they've said, 'Okay, let's manufacture a viral video,'" he says. "But you can't do it because so many elements of luck and charm go into making something that doesn't feel like you're selling something."
Check out the first episode of IKEA Heights below and let us know what you think of the series and the way it was made. There's no word on whether the producers had to use any of those funny little wrenches to put the series together.
Did you enjoy watching IKEA Heights? What do you think about the way the soap spoof was made? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.