The comedic short Real World Ikea, from a new directing duo known as IrishWiley (at right), brings the reality TV concept to its freshest location yet - an Ikea showroom floor. Working with executive producer Bryan Farhy, who heads up transmission@RSA, directors Christopher Hill and Sean Sahlin assembled an improv cast based on the MTV show's familiar Real World stereotypes, planted them in Ikea's Burbank outpost one Sunday afternoon last summer and filmed them with hidden cameras. The actors play out Real World-inspired emotional crises (a frame is seen at left) before an unknowing audience of real-life shoppers and Ikea staff, whose befuddled reactions only add to the hilarity. It all comes to a head when one character, the "naive hick," loudly threatens to leave - with hollow Ikea TV in tow - and the cast's resident exhibitionist darts about exposed, just as Ikea management starts to approach. "I think we wore out our welcome," notes Hill, who says the actors and crew finally fled the premises in a wild chase with security personnel.
Los Angeles Film School grads Hill and Sahlin's guerrilla project was partly inspired by funnyman Farhy (see Creativity, September 2001), who also helped them to produce a mockumentary called Meter Maids when they were PAs at his former haunt, Headquarters satellite Brand. And, although tonally different, there are obvious similarities to CP+B's Wes Anderson-directed Ikea spots, where families re-enact real-life melodrama in an Ikea showroom - but they insist it's just coincidence. "I guess it's kind of flattering that the agency thinks along the same lines that we do," offers Hill. Adds Sahlin, "Basically, we wanted to see if we could just do it. That was the main goal behind the thing, because it was so absurd." The short is on the IrishWiley reel but has yet to turn up on the web.