By Lanford Beard
Updated December 03, 2012 at 07:10 PM EST
Credit: Robyn Von Swank
  • TV Show

After assembling a laugh-out-loud cast for the first season of his dating show parody Burning Love, Ken Marino set an ultra-high bar as he stepped behind the camera to produce the web series’ second season. But, as you can see from this exclusive cast shot, Marino has outdone himself. From Party Down cast mates to comic mainstays, the next set of suitors in this “loving homage” to The Bachelorette is chockablock with gut busters.

Below, Marino talks EW through season 2 with four exclusive pics, singles out some of the early favorites, and reveals the theme of season 3. Read on…

Season 2 — which Marino and his wife, writer Erica Oyama, again produced with Paramount’s Insurge Pictures and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Digital — follows Julie Gristlewhite (June Diane Raphael), one of the bachelorettes who suffered a broken heart at the hands (and hose) of fireman Mark Orlando (Marino) in season 1. Fans will remember that Julie struggled in season 1 because of confidence issues from the split with her rollerskating Italian ex-fiancé. But, for season 2, “She’s very excited to be the bachelorette — very excited,” says Marino. “She’s gained a lot of confidence. She’s also gained a lot of tanning spray and hair extensions.”

Last season, Mark whittled down his potential mates at a series of Hose Ceremonies. Now that Julie’s making the cuts, things will be a little different. “She asks the potential husbands-to-be to ‘hold her box,'” says Marino, explaining, “It’s a ring box with a little flame in it.” One thing will stay the same, though — makeout sessions aplenty. “When you are the center of attention and there are a bunch of guys competing for you, sooner or later, lips are going to fall into each other,” he teases, then adds with a laugh, “The guys are going to get their hands around her box.”

NEXT: Sizing up the suitors

Credit: Robyn Von Swank

Fans of season 1 will remember that Adam Scott (left) played Mark’s therapist Damien Assante. Damien has returned for his shot at love because he “is a human being as well [as a therapist],” says Marino. “It’s undeniable that he has a heart and a soul just like everybody else. This season, he is out not to help people work through their issues but rather to find somebody that he could fall in love with and spend the rest of his life with.”

Next to him, Marino’s longtime pals Joe Lo Truglio and Paul Scheer bring to life some of the genre’s well-worn clichés. Explains Marino, “When Erica was writing it, and we were thinking about who [of our friends] would be the funniest in each role — who would fit the mold, who could play that angle really well — Joe being the single dad who’s emotional about not seeing is son was kind of an obvious one. And Scheer being a party motivator was sort of a no-brainer as well.”

NEXT: Some day Julie’s prince will come?

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Rob Huebel joins the fold as a prince, though one of his dates with Julie isn’t so charming. “Something very sad happened right before the date started,” teases Marino. “I can’t get too specific, but it was heartbreaking for Julie Gristlewhite. She was a trooper and really wanted to give [this guy] a little one-on-one time, but she wears her emotions on her sleeve, and… she’s slightly, really subtly, sad about the whole thing.”

NEXT: When two take on one

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Jerry O’Connell — himself no stranger to this genre after his brother Charlie was The Bachelor in 2005 — will play Henry, “an all-around good guy. He’s just there looking for love.” Adam Brody plays Max, also “a decent human being,” says Marino. “He happens to be Jewish, and he’s hoping that Julie will convert, but he doesn’t want to press her on that issue.” Marino stayed mum as to whether Max’s beliefs might become a dealbreaker during the two-on-date pictured above, but it seems safe to say a bromance blooms along the way.

NEXT: Call me, Maeby?

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy — but here’s a ring box, have you been near nuts maybe? Hewing close to type, Michael Cera plays an intellectual named Wally, who “is a hopeless romantic. He’s looking for the love of his life. He’s looking for a best friend.” And, because of a life-threatening allergy, “he’s looking for somebody that doesn’t have any contact with nuts.”

Playing the other suitors: Colin Hanks, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Nick Thune, Brandon Johnson. Michael Ian Black returns as host Bill Tundle and Colton Dunn will reprise his role of Tim the incapable set medic.

NEXT: Marino reveals season 3’s theme

Whether Julie finds love during her upcoming journey remains up in the air, but Marino will exclusive reveal that many favorites from season 1 and 2 will return for a third season called Burning Down the House. “The difference between Burning Love and Burning Down the House is, we strip away the love and make it solely about the money,” he laughs. “Everybody’s there competing for the huge prize of $900. Everybody has great plans if they win.”

It’s another chance for Marino and Oyama, who produced House concurrently with Love season 2, to keep their friends around for a little while longer. “We’re very lucky, Erica and I, in that we are friends or work with a lot of people who are very funny people and are willing to come and do this with us,” he says. “I’m shocked sometimes when I look at the cast and feel very, very lucky that we were able to get all these great actors.”

Burning Love season 2 and Burning Down the House will both premiere on Yahoo! Screen in 2013.

Read more:

Episode Recaps

Bachelor Pad

Chris Harrison reassembles former rose-contenders for a second chance at reality fame, love, and televised skankiness
  • TV Show
  • 3
  • Pending