Yes, the above picture is of my partner and me watching our favorite web drama, Anyone But Me. The below photo is more representative of how I felt when the production team announced that the next episode would be the last and final installment of the award-winning drama.
It seems like only yesterday that a friend I was interviewing for breast cancer awareness month, suggested that I watch a coming of age web series about a post-911, New York City teenager, who takes the bullshit of societal norms by the horns, and with the help of friends and family, rides it out the best she can. It’s no great secret that I watched the entire first season late one night curled up with my laptop and a bottomless cup of coffee. Fully intending to watch an episode or two and come back later, I found myself clicking through one episode after another lamenting the timer as it approached that damnable, web-budget-determined, ten minute mark. It is also no great secret what I think of the series, as frequent readers know I advocate for what I like. For those who have not seen Anyone But Me, here are a few of my assessments, and I encourage you to check out all previous seasons (1 through 3) on their website.
Season One and Two of the drama were a gift from the production team, provided free of charge for our viewing pleasure, each a baited hook for just one more anxious bite. However, without some kind of corporate sponsorship, or unless you are the Koch brothers, personally funding a social movement for an extended period of time is impossible. It soon became evident that the fans would have to fish or cut bait to catch a Season 3. And as a result, Season 3 of Anyone But Me was funded by fan donation, not subscription, and consisted of 5 episodes. Season 4 will be a fan-financed as well, a single episode, Series Finale.
As I said above, I believe ABM is a gift, the whole package. The box, or the foundation, is the writing, it holds the shape and contains the well-defined parameters of this character drama. The wrapping? That’s easy; it’s the actors. They bring vivid color and eye-catching attention to the package. Speaking in terms of the main characters, Rachael Hip-Flores is brilliant as Vivian. She pulls at my heart strings, and she makes me want to be Vivian’s champion. Conversely, she plays the character flaws with believability, so much so, that I want to scold her sometimes. I believe that is the definition of depth. In Aster, I see quite a bit of me at that age, and it probably explains why I’m so hard on that character at times. Nicole Pacent plays her with an appropriate amount of white-hot, sexuality, but with an obvious and believable insecurity. Tying all this up in a tight package, is the direction. How these characters interact, when they interact, and where they interact is vital. It ads to the credibility. Combine all these elements of the whole package, and there is the gift.
Now, normally, I would consider re-gifting to be tacky and just a little bit common, but in the case of ABM and its finale, I am going to make a rare exception to my rule. In fact, I sent my re-gifted donation toward ABM’s season finale last week. I don’t know, maybe it was all those October Christmas trees in Home Depot that put me in the spirit, but whatever the reason, I felt compelled to do my part to tie up the package that was Season 3, and I encourage you to do the same. If we don’t support those who so proudly and eloquently support the community, who will? In an age where all too often networks and corporations dance the box-step around lesbian content all the while pandering to lesbian viewers, it’s refreshing to have our experiences reflected in the loud and proud, yet subtle works of Tina Cesa Ward and Susan Miller, the creators of Anyone But Me.
At the risk of sounding a little Ecclesiastical, for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. For Anyone But Me, the season is four, and the time is now. Please donate here what you can, and re-gift the gift of art.