By Joseph Lamour
The Summer Doldrums, as I like to call the break network television gives us from June to September, are quickly approaching. Hot temperatures and a new season of The Bachelorette go hand-in-hand, and I take that as my television telling me, “Go Outside.” But, like all couch potatoes, I just turn from one tube to another. Join me as I say ta-ta to my TV, and hello to my Macbook Pro. Below the cut are two queer web series worth watching.
This post comes with a STRONG LANGUAGE warning… for some of you. See what I mean, after the jump.
With a new gay series set in San Francisco premiering this fall starring Jonathan Groff (of course), Dyke Central provides a nice counterpoint to the gay scene in the Bay Area. This web series out of California focuses on the oft-overlooked lesbian community in Oakland, and “centers around 30-something butch roommates Alex and Gin.” The leads (played by Tai Rockett and Giovannie Espiritu) are quite dynamic, simply because hardly anyone like Alex and Gin exist in scripted television. Casting people of color for all four main leads of a series gets a hearty “Huzzah!” from me.
The more chipper of the leads, Gin, actually reminds me of one of my best friends, Erika, so I had her watch the first episode and give me her thoughts. This is what she had to say:
“I think the show did a very good job of portraying a spectrum of the LGBT community. I think it’s important to include the T in the acronym as they seem to be a forgotten minority and any exposure is great. I think, compared to The L Word and a lot of lesbian themed shows, Dyke Central shows more “butch”-identifying women which is crucially important to people like me who look at Jennifer Beals and Leisha Hailey on TV and can’t relate in any way.”
With any pilot, there are strides to be made with the show going forward. The sex scene at the end received a universal awkward from everyone I had watch the show with me. That can simply be explained away by the editing (I know most of you haven’t watched it yet, but there’s a cutaway with a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t-shirt situation.) The dialogue and plot could use a more natural flow, but towards the end of the pilot, newcomer Fabiana (played by Carla Pauli) foreshadows a promising second episode. Lastly, I know that a lot of you read the title of the show, and thought “Hmm.” Well, frankly, anyone I talked to (gay and straight, female and male, butch or not) had something to say about it. Erika had a thought about it that I’d like to share:
“The word ‘dyke’ is a word I am super conflicted about. I personally nearly never use it. I don’t like the way it sounds or the way it feels coming out of my mouth. I think it’s a lot like the N word in that it seems to be acceptable amongst the community but not by the bystander. I think if “dyke” used with anger, hate, and venom is when the problem really arises, like with any descriptive word. I would never tell a fellow LGBT person not to use it, or be mad at them for using it, but I follow the rule: “If I don’t want someone calling me that, I won’t say it.”
I pretty much agree with that. I don’t use “fag” for the same reason. Well… that, and its appropriation (thanks, Eminem,) but that’s for another discussion.
Out of Canada, LESlieVILLE is a series about what happens if you meet the love of your life, while you’re with someone you thought was the love of your life. From the LESlieVILLE website:
…a story about connection, attraction and navigating between lust and true desire. It’s the story of two girls meeting, clicking, but one is already in a relationship. Still, the two carry on with their “friendship” firmly wrapped up in denial about what they’re really doing – falling in love.
It’s truly refreshing to see a queer series that sports such a diverse cast in so many respects. The lead, Sera (played by Samantha Wan) is a perfect example that in order to be an alluring female lead, you don’t need to be a blonde waif. In fact, in my notes for this show, the only note I had for Sera is “enchanting”. Take note, Logo. Ona (played by Tiffany Martin) is perfectly cast as the romantic cat to Sera’s mouse.
With all web series sporting a mostly green cast (at least with each other,) there are improvements to be made. Sera and Ona’s mooning is a little much in the pilot, but in later episodes, the actors get more comfortable with the chase. The show is best when the natural flow of conversation relaxes, and Sera and Ona stop the overtly romantic pretense. Sera’s ex-girlfriend, Gwen (played by Jenna Harder) also shines in later episodes.