About the only type of shopping I enjoy is food shopping, and in southern California the wide array of what’s available is made even more delectable by the parades of characters in the aisles of the stores–and oh, the theater of our farmer’s markets! The Food4Less near MacArthur Park, obviously, offers a different and no less intriguing experience than, say, the Bristol Farms in Pasadena, or the hyper-tattooed Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.
And you haven’t experienced real grocery drama until you’ve visited the Ralph’s Fresh Fare on 9th street at around midnight on a Saturday. Of course, the Whole Foods Parking Lot viral video sensation last year lampooned the absurdity of a particular sort of shopper with perfect pitch.
Director Ben Wolfinsohn (“High School Record,”" Friends Forever,” “Nickelodeon’s Gigantic”) is similarly enthralled. He’s been producing a series of webisodes about the Santa Monica Co-op on Broadway at 16th Street. (Watch the first episode below). It’s called, simply, Co-op Stories and it’s written and shot in that same wry pithy mockumentary-style popularized on television by “The Office” (and now widely emulated by everyone else.)
A smitten clerk spots a one-hit wonder actor and stalks him in the store. A technology-freak hippie holds up the line while checking in on Facebook. A juggler who can’t help himself has his way with the oranges and potatoes, to the consternation of the staff. Etc.
You won’t be surprised to learn (as Wolfinsohn’s press agent told me) that the hope is that the series will be picked up for television broadcast. Maybe that’s the most interesting aspect of “Co-Op Stories”: that this ambitious director has taken the grocery store to YouTube and has a PR person to help prod it along.