Jaleel White, formerly known as “Urkle” to legions of viewers in the late ‘90s, recently returned, but not to the airwaves that were once his home. As the star of the new Web series, “Road to the Altar,” Jaleel portrays Simon, a thirty-something man about to tie the knot with his Jewish girlfriend.
“Basically a couple sells their pending nuptials as a reality show to win a honeymoon. And the groom quickly realizes that he is in over his head,” Jaleel told AccessHollywood.com. “She’s not quite a ‘bridezilla’, but the decision making process from the valet to the catering is definitely bringing out his fiancee’s neurosis.”
“Road to the Altar” is shot as a mockumentry, poking fun at the process leading up to a wedding by taking the possibilities to the extreme. The series also allows for the spotlight to be shared, as supporting characters post in-character Tweets and blogs in between episodes, something Jaleel wishes he had been part of.
“I’m jealous of the people who got to do the video blogs. I was laughing at the blogs,” he added. “That’s what had me rolling, personally.”
But besides cracking jokes about wedded bliss, Jaleel also opened up to Access, sharing the same discontent many have with the current state of development in Hollywood.
“Television development hasn’t been working for quite some time,” he continued, when asked why he decided to get involved with an online show. “People ask me all the time, ‘Why haven’t we seen you?’ It’s more of a reflection of what has happened in television development than anything to do with me.”
After the 2008-09 season saw so many programs cancelled to make way for new offerings, shows that were lauded as the next big thing not nine months before, many would agree with Jaleel’s opinion.
“There is no defined business model for the Web right now, but there are some people that are at the forefront of making [that] discovery. What I do know for a fact though is that new projects are better served on the Web than what is done behind closed doors now. And proof of that for me was a program called ‘In The Motherhood.’”
“In The Motherhood” was originally an online series staring Leah Remini, Jenny McCarthy and Chelsea Handler before it was optioned by ABC and turned into a traditional network broadcast sitcom. Featuring a retooled cast, the new series received less than favorable reviews and dismal ratings, and the ire of fans of the original Webisodes. Shortly after its premiere, ABC changed its episode order from 13 to seven. In the weeks that followed, ratings continued to drop and ABC was forced to cancel the series altogether.
“These are the ladies who are supposed to star in the series, and this is what the executives did to the series,” Jaleel said, voicing the same concerns fans of the Web series have posted on forums across the Internet. “How could they remove these ladies? What the hell happened?”