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'Girlfriend' is an intriguing tease

Michael Blaiklock is one of the off-camera protagonist's friends in Michael Blaiklock is one of the off-camera protagonist's friends in "Secret Girlfriend.'' (Mark Davis)
By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / October 7, 2009

The format of "Secret Girlfriend'' is pretty cool. The protagonist of this new Comedy Central series is the invisible guy who's holding the camera. We never see him, or hear from him; but all the other characters - his two buddies, his ex-girlfriend, his new love interest - look at him and talk to him and call him "you.'' And as they do that, they're breaking the fourth wall and addressing us. They pull us into the show as if we're at its center.

SECRET GIRLFRIENDStarring: Derek Miller, Michael Blaiklock, Alexis Krause, Sara E. R. Fletcher

On: Comedy Central

Time: Tonight, 10:30-11

This technique in "Secret Girlfriend,'' which premieres tonight at 10:30, reminds me of Jay McInerney's use of the second-person voice in his novel "Bright Lights, Big City.'' By positioning the audience itself as a young, male character, both the novel and the TV show have an interactive, post-modern tone. We aren't just watching objectively as a story unfolds; we're pulled into a highly subjective situation, drawn inside the conflicts of the protagonist's mind. Each segment of "Secret Girl- friend'' opens with a subtitle worded in the second person, such as "You and Your Ex Call It Quits.''

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