A new British TV show called "Deep Fake Neighbor Wars" — created by ITV, the channel that brought you "Love Island" — is betting big on deepfakes by putting the likes of Kim Kardashian and Idris Elba up against each other as discontent neighbors.
The setup is predictable: digitally disguised celebrity impressionists play out skits, stretched out over an excruciating 20 minutes of air time.
It sounds like a dumpster fire attempt to skewer the A-listers we've grown to love — or despise. How else would you get Adele to scream at Jake Paul for allowing his racing pigeons to poop on her lawn, or Usain Bolt stealing his neighbor Rihanna's underwear?
The show's marketing is equally uninspired, in a limp attempt to capitalize on the public's interest in AI tech.
"Our celebs are all played by actors," the show claims at the beginning of each episode. "Their faces are all DEEP FAKED."
The comedy's creators claim it's "the world’s first long-form narrative show that uses deepfake technology," The Guardian reports — a big claim that leaves us wondering: who the hell was asking for this?
It's almost like they're gunning to be sued by a number of celebrities considering there's basically no chance the show's producers were able to have each and every celebrity sign off on all of this.
The news comes after a number of celebrities' deepfaked likenesses started appearing in random ads, sometimes without approval.
Of course, the fact that it's intended as comedy may set "Deep Fake Neighbor Wars" apart.
"The major ethical issue with deepfakes is the idea that they’re trying to trick us — but this isn’t a problem when they’re used for obvious comedy," argued Dominic Lees, an associate professor in filmmaking at the University of Reading, who called ITV's show "the tip of the iceberg" in a piece for The Conversation.
But that could give the show too much credit. The reviews are in, and they're, perhaps unsurprisingly, excoriating.
"So cheaply made, and so aggressively underwritten, that, even at just 20-minutes, it makes you intensely conscious of your own mortality," reads the subhead to The Independent's view.
"This is the world of 'Deep Fake Neighbour Wars,' a show that mixes comedy and technology with as much success as Dave Chapelle welcoming Elon Musk as his warm-up act," the review reads, a reference to Musk's ill-advised attempt to show up at the disgraced comedian's gig in San Francisco that led to a cacophony of boos and jeers.
But, perhaps, that's the show's intention, as The Independent argues: an attempt to create a show that's "so bad it's good."
The more realistic outcome of all of this will likely be the internet chopping up the show's footage into bite-sized clips to be shared and forgotten on social media — something that's probably not even worth suing over.
READ MORE: Deep Fake Neighbour Wars review – the puerile joy of Idris Elba fighting Kim Kardashian over a wheelbarrow [The Guardian]
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