• 'What Would Diplo Do?' on SBS VICELAND. (SBS)Source: SBS
EDM's 'Spinal Tap' comes to SBS VICELAND.
Jazz Twemlow

8 Aug 2017 - 10:48 AM  UPDATED 8 Aug 2017 - 11:53 AM

What Would Diplo Do? is coming to SBS VICELAND, so what better time to go back through history and look at the man himself? Diplo. Ah, Diplo. The man. The myth. His sounds. I love his sounds. They’re so… ebullient. OK, I have no idea who Diplo is, even less what he would do when he encounters… the things that he does. Losing a pet in a tornado? A fire in a library? Taking drugs in a wax museum? I’ve no idea.

This ignorance is entirely my fault as I continue ambling through life as a very uncool tea drinker largely sheltered from recent trends by my new baby and greying beard. I even went to the optometrist's today because my eyes are packing it in. I’m essentially an animatronic display from an exhibition on ageing that’s escaped and somehow assimilated to human life. Whatever EDM is, the only way a fan and myself would ever meet is if they summoned me from their equivalent of The Upside Down.

Turns out, though, there’s no escaping Diplo. You can’t not listen to him. He’s everywhere, whether you like it or not. You might as well try and give up other people’s farts. He shifts seamlessly from high profile Twitter spats to lending music to a Bernie Sanders campaign video and has accrued close to a billion views for "Where Are Ü Now". If you stood that many people on each other’s shoulders, they’d all die. Would look impressive, though.

Regardless of whether you’re a Diplo fan or a crumbling flesh museum like myself, both camps will probably be pleased to hear that SBS VICELAND's first foray into scripted comedy is a series centred around (an admittedly fictitious reimaging of) Diplo. Why would I be happy about this? Because the series, rather than becoming a vehicle for self-praise for someone I’ve never heard of is instead laced with irony and a fair bit of criticism of the bro-ishness of the EDM community. It’s an intriguing balance that makes the series enjoyable for fans and sceptics alike.

Fame and excess have been on an unironic rampage for years now, with the Real Housewives of Insert City proudly filling our screens with affluent nonsense, as if being absurdly rich is something that deserves admiration. EDM culture could easily go the same way, given that most of the music videos show women dry-humping a Ferrari as a DJ looks on shrouded in a pervy mist.

Worry not. Diplo, by all accounts, is a savvy chap, and this seems reflected by the approach of What Would Diplo Do?, which sends up his industry along with himself – a sort of Spinal Tap for EDM. This allows the series to straddle two camps – a fond look behind the scenes of a larger-than-life character and not-so-subtle mockery of that character.

Great news for me, then, because it means I can enjoy dipping my toe into the unfamiliar and absurdly bro-ish world of EDM through a sense of detached irony. And great news for Diplo, who comes off looking pretty cool by making himself the subject of a mockumentary (he is the Executive Producer). 

Ultimately, what you're left with is a funny sequence of vignettes, deftly executed by James Van Der Beek (himself, showrunner and writer), just self-aware enough to not make you want to vomit on the next one-percenter you bump into.

I've no idea who Diplo is or what he would do in any scenario, but I know what I'll do – happily watch this. With my cup of tea.


Watch What Would Diplo Do? on Tuesdays from 8 August at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND.

'What Would Diplo Do?' is a meta showcase for James Van Der Beek
It's Diplo as you've never seen him before: As James Van Der Beek.
James Van Der Beek does as Diplo would in the 'What Would Diplo Do?' trailer
Get ready...