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Burning Love Co-Creator Erica Oyama Gives Us Dating Advice

Erica Oyama and husband Ken Marino
Erica Oyama and husband Ken Marino
Paramount Pictures

Erica Oyama is the great comedic mind behind the scripted comedy web series Burning Love on Yahoo. The show parodies reality dating shows like The Bachelor, and recently released its third season while winning a Webby Award for Special Achievement of the Year.

The first season made the jump from tiny to small screen with it's television premiere on E! this past February. Oyama's husband Ken Marino starred in that season as the goofy fireman bachelor Mark Orlando, who is back in season three to compete with former contestants for a grand prize of $900. (They're currently writing the film adaptation of Go The F**k to Sleep together.)

Erica has been interviewed extensively by the media about the process of writing the show, so we thought we'd ask her some deeper, much more embarrassing questions.

Burning Love follows some very bizarre people in their search for true love. Can you talk a little bit about your own search?

I feel like I had crushes early and often in my life. I remember being really into the guy in the Gremlins. Billy? I think I like the pretty boys.

My first real boyfriend was in high school, but I went to an arts high school and the pickings were slim. We all liked this one guy and he just took turns with all the girls who liked him. I didn't have much of a big romantic life in high school, but I always pined for one.

In college, I feel like my thing became dating guys who were not out of the closet yet. Like, "What's going on? We have so much fun! Why isn't this working?" Cut to years later, reading on Facebook that the guy just married his boyfriend. In Hawaii. And they're both personal trainers. With amazing bodies.

I've definitely been guilty of showing my hand too early and being too eager. When Ken and I started dating, I tried to play it a little cooler.

How did you and Ken meet?

We met at the very first Jimmy Kimmel show. I was just there with my friends trying to see Coldplay but there was this big party after the show and Ken happened to be there. It was a crazy Super Bowl party so now we always celebrate Super Bowl Sunday as our anniversary.

Now that you've found love, do you have any advice for those still burning for it?

Oh man! I think you just have to keep your eyes peeled and always be properly accessorized. And showered. I think there's all this pressure on people to go out to bars, but I like the Internet dating angle. I never participated in it, but it makes a lot of sense to me. You weed out a lot of the people who seem crazy and pick from the non-crazy seeming people. That makes sense to me logically.

You've mentioned your love of the show The Bachelor. Who was your favorite bachelor and what would you have done as a contestant to woo him?

I really enjoyed the Brad Womack season. I feel like with Brad, you just gotta show you can have fun and that you're willing to relocate to where he lives because he's very unwilling to move anywhere else. I'd probably have been very up front about my willingness to move to Austin.

What if you could be on any reality show as a contestant?

Oh my gosh! Well, I love karaoke. A very special part of Ken and my relationship is our shared love of karaoke so I'd probably want to be discovered on The Voice. I feel like that would be a great second career for me.

You guys encourage improv on the Burning Love set. Is there an example from this season where improv brought a scene to a whole other level?

Totally. One moment specifically that I think is maybe the funniest moment of the entire season is during the game Hurtful Questions. Virginia asks, "Are these going to be painful questions or hurtful questions?" and it just devolves to Michael Black screaming at her that she can pack her shit and go. That was totally Michael and Helen improvising. It was just the most hilarious thing.

Who's idea was it for Natasha Leggero to show up in the limo naked in season one, hers or yours?

That was my idea! I just thought it would be funny if a girl was super proud of her downstairs and was cutsy about it and saw no shame in just living her life pantless.

You're writing a movie now and you've written for the web and TV. Do you have a preference?

I love writing for the web because you have a lot of freedom. We got to creatively do whatever we wanted to do. I'm so excited to write the movie with Ken. I think we work well together. But you're writing it for someone else's vision, so we'll have to take their notes and all that stuff. But we're equally excited to take this on.

You've been asked a lot of the same questions over and over in interviews. What's something about you that nobody knows?

My dad is a karate teacher from Japan. I grew up wanting to act and I came out to LA to work as an actor and audition and everything, but I would always write as a secondary hobby. And he was always telling me it would be the thing I would end up doing full time. I didn't want to hear any of it for a long time, so I'm glad he kept saying it because maybe it would have never happened otherwise.

Stephanie Carrie blogs at The Tangled Web We Watch. Follow her on Twitter at @StephanieCarrie and for more arts news follow @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.


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