Ride With Me is a hilarious new web series written and directed by Alex Spresser & Patrick Hotaling. The show follows driver John on his whimsical adventures around Los Angeles. John (played by Chris O’Brien) is a driver for a ride share company a la Uber. During his excursions around southern California, John comes across a variety of characters including (but not limited to) a woman who appears to be a prostitute, a spunky elderly late who has affinity for profanity and a drug dealer. One episode features popular music artist GriZ as a passenger.
John is not quite sure what to expect when he picks up a new passenger. Each episode the viewer is led to believe one truth about the person riding in the backseat, only to have their perception debunked at the end of the show. O’Brien has impeccable comic timing and it’s a pleasure to watch as he navigates (pun intended) through various sticky situations. At one point, the street walker (or so we think) takes a bag of cocaine out of her purse and asks John “Have you ever been in a blizzard?” John doesn’t know how to react and begins to tell her about a Rhode Island winter. She proceeds to place the bag of drugs in the air conditioner of the car and creates a blizzard of her own.
The viewer identifies with John’s discomfort as he tries desperately not to offend the eccentric passenger whom he’s temporarily responsible for. At times O’Brien conveys his anxiety solely with facial expressions, which is objectively impressive.
Ride With Me engages the viewer to try to figure out what each character is hiding during a given episode. No one is who they seem in this car, except for John (of course) who is attempting to survive his eight hour shift.
On the episode where John picks up GriZ to take him to a music gig, he is accosted by a despondent and visibly unstable woman in a parking lot. Said woman invites herself into the car and subsequently demands a cheeseburger. She tells John and GriZ that she’s recently broken up with her boyfriend and the only antidote that will do is a cheeseburger. John struggles to appease her while getting the rock star to his gig on time. The cheeseburger fanatic manages to briefly steal the car from John (which has the rock star’s saxophone inside) for a few hours leaving him dirty and wandering the streets of Los Angeles aimlessly. Ultimately, John finds the cheeseburger woman randomly parked on a questionable LA street, kicks her out of the vehicle and gets on his merry way.
The show is composed of vignettes lasting just under five minutes. Despite the length, there is considerable depth and strong story-telling within this time frame. Ride With Me is hilarious, smart and spunky. Just when you think the on-screen scenario can’t get any more absurd, the show takes it one step further. If you’re looking for a fun series to check out as you wind down from the work week, this is it.