For most of us, the last few weeks have consisted of adjusting to the new normal of social distancing and quarantine. While staying informed by the news is important, it can be easy to succumb to the 24-hour news cycle and allow it to drain us. We all need a good distraction, now more than ever. With all live sports and movie theaters on pause, entertainment streaming services have become our new best friend. We’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 Binge-Worthy shows to Get You Through Quarantine.
#1. Starting off the list we have the most talked about series right now, Netflix’s Tiger King. Whether you are sick of hearing your friends talk about it or have it saved to your must watch list, Tiger King is the ultimate quarantine binge. It gives a wild look into the dangerously competitive nature of big cat breeding and introduces the world to some of the most eccentric characters you could possibly imagine. We can assure you that you will experience almost every emotion while watching the 7 episodes of Tiger King and we know you won’t regret it. Happy watching, all you cool cats and kittens!
#2 Another Netflix favorite that we must include is Love is Blind. If you enjoy shows like The Bachelor or any reality television for that matter you will be obsessed with Love is Blind. This show tries to answer the age old question of whether or not love truly is blind through a social experiment. Single men and women must try and find their true love, and get engaged before ever seeing each other. They must solely rely on the emotional connection they form through ‘blind dates’. We follow the couples right up to their wedding day and get to see whether the experiment worked or failed. Trust us, this is a must-watch! You will fall in love with some of these couples! This show is perfect for some laughs, some happy tears, and some absolute WTF moments. Enjoy!
#3. Coming in our third spot we have an oldie but a goodie. If you need a show to watch with your parents or siblings that will boost your mood and give you a laugh, we recommend Gilmore Girls on Netflix. The story of our favorite mother-daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and all of their lovable family and friends is the best kind of escape from the day. If you haven’t seen this show yet, be prepared to want to hug your friends and family, but remember, we still need to be socially distant!! Enjoy your trip to Stars Hollow!
#4. In our fourth spot we have an ultimate favorite, Fleabag. This show may not be one to watch with Mom and Dad but if you need a good laugh or a serious pick-me-up this is your show. From the brilliant mind of Phoebe Waller-Bridge we are introduced to a flawed but self-aware woman who navigates the struggles of owning a small business, maintaining her awkward familial relationships while also having quite a colorful personal life. The unfiltered and raunchy comedy is unlike any other. Use that Amazon Prime membership and binge this show, you won’t regret it!
#5. Finishing out our list we have one of Hulu’s best, Ramy. This show is one of the most unique stories being told. A story not often told of a first-generation Egyptian-American guy from New Jersey named Ramy who is finding his way in life through his own spiritual journey. This show is hilarious but also present and grounded in a reality that so many people go through. Discovering yourself through your faith while also being an average American millennial is a combination that describes many people. Ramy tells his story through an honest, realistic, and comedic lens. This show will teach you a new perspective on life that you may be unfamiliar with and will make you laugh in the process. Enjoy!
After meeting in a small town and deciding to become roommates, Perrie Voss and Heidi Lynch sparked a friendship that quickly became a robust creative partnership. Inspired by their respective personal challenges and what they saw as the simmering ideological tension between baby boomers and millennials (symbolized, oddly or fittingly enough, by avocado toast), the idea for Avocado Toast the series was born. Perrie and Heidi play Molly and Elle, two friends each struggling to adjust to huge revelations – both in their own lives and the lives of their parents. We spoke to Perrie and Heidi about the origins of their friendship, exploring sexuality, and trying to understand (and break down) our cultural hang ups around acknowledging our parents’ sex lives. Avocado Toast the series premieres on Amazon Prime May 18th.
Cliché: How did the two of you meet?
Heidi Lynch: We met on a theatre contract. It just happened that right after meeting our personal lives simultaneously exploded. We needed a friend, and we had both just relocated to a small town to do a play and only knew each other. We became each other’s source of support and laughter through hard times. The show is inspired by our real life events.
Perrie Voss: We met over a summer doing a brand new play together in southern Ontario! We decided to be roommates while we rehearsed the play and little did we know our lives were about to change forever! Ominous I know…
When did you realize you wanted to do a comedy together?
HL: In that dark time. Well specifically after it. We had gotten so used to making each other laugh and adding lightness to each other’s dark time that we wanted it to continue. Our contract ended so it felt natural to work on something together. We realized that we had never (especially at that time) seen bisexual coming out stories, or stories about how hard it is when you’re parents divorce, even when you’re an adult. We felt like other people needed the ability to watch something humorous that addressed those issues, if they were in the same position.
PV: This question somewhat needs to be informed by the ominous cliffhanger I just left you with. AvocadoToast the series is based on our real life events and us meeting at a very serendipitous time. We bonded immediately and decided to be roommates while we rehearsed the show – which in itself could have been a comical disaster. But it was amazing and we discovered we had a really similar sense of humour. During this time Heidi had been going through a really huge revelation about her sexuality and then extremely suddenly, two weeks into rehearsal, my parents told me they decided to get divorced after 38 years of marriage. We were both going through it and what we realized is that we had this incredible strength to draw on with one another. We realized that we were able to be there for each other but we made each other laugh a lot but there was a trust and a bond that I had never experienced before with a friend – especially that quickly. We just knew we had to write it – and it’s become this story!
Talk about your new show, AvocadoToast the series and your characters, Molly and Elle.
HL: This is a show about female relationships. Relationships between best friends and between mothers and daughters. It’s an example of how not to treat each other but how we so often do. We put unreal expectations on our best friends, our mothers, our daughters and AvocadoToast the series explores that, with a comedic lens, through Molly and Elle. Molly is coming out as bisexual when her mother tells her that she and Molly’s dad are totally fine with it because they are very sexually adventurous and have an open marriage. Elle is adjusting to her parents’ divorce while watching her mother date a much younger man. Molly and Elle lean on each other as they judge their mothers more harshly than they would any other woman until the crutch that is their friendship breaks.
PV: Molly and Elle are best friends and roommates – they’ve been friends since they were little but Molly had recently moved to England for two years to pursue a teaching career. Elle is an art director at her mom’s agency and focused on work and playing the field. She takes what she wants when she wants it. When Molly comes back, and moves back in with Elle they discover each is about to go through their biggest life-changes to date. Molly had fallen in love with a woman for the first time in England and Elle discovers her parents are getting divorced. While they try and re-establish their friendship, they’re also trying to sort through their new sense of reality. Elle is a hard-working party-girl and she comes across as a brash, tough cookie, but she has a very soft centre. Which is what she has to unexpectedly deal with throughout the season. What she discovers is that she doesn’t have to filter everything through aggression and anger.
Where did the name for the show come from? It’s peak millennial!
HL: Exactly! We started with some other names but after avocadotoast was blamed for millennial mortgage woes, we felt like it was the perfect symbol for millennials and baby boomers not understanding each other.
PV: It is! Avocadotoast (the food) has become the proverbial symbol of millennials! There was this article that came out some years ago – right when the avocadotoast craze really took off written by a baby boomer for The Globe and Mail in Toronto (google it!) which talked about millennials not being able to afford to buy a house because they’re spending all their money on avocadotoast, and if they saved their money they’d be able to buy a house. Which we found infuriating, and darkly hilarious but we also saw that as a thematic difference between millennials and baby-boomers – that if we just ‘saved up’ that would somehow make up for the housing market flux. But what we wanted to do was show that although these two generations are vastly different, we’re also not as different as we thought. It was like a symbolic clue: AvocadoToast! The intergenerational glue!
Had you ever worked together before this? How would you describe your dynamic as actors, and does it have any impact on your personal friendship or your creative collaboration?
HL: I think as actors we work together incredibly well! We have gone on a long journey together in the creative process. We have both learned more than we ever even knew we wanted to about every aspect of film making and we are still standing and have something incredible to show for it. We have watched each other learn and grow and struggle and achieve so much. I am beyond excited to share what we have made with the world on May 18th and I think that will be when we can really take stock of all that’s happened together.
PV: Back when we did that play was the first time we had worked together, and that was almost five years ago. We have a really fun natural chemistry which was a huge impetus for us wanting to make something together, and we’re also both really game to play in the moment as actors. And because of our history and understanding it allows us to be really available to each other as actors and make each other laugh. We know the joke we’re going after in the scene, and what the truth of the moment is. Within our relationship, I think the biggest thing was to learn how to communicate on multiple levels. Being able to combine our creative communication within our friendship communication was a learning curve for sure. But we knew that we were good at both separately so finding where that balance exists was key for us.
Heidi, your character Molly is coming to terms with being bisexual and dating a woman. She (and the audience) might think that her main focus would be coming out – until she realizes her parents are swingers. How does Molly wind up having to confront her own preconceived ideas about sexuality with respect to her parents, in addition to accepting her own?
HL: I think you’ve just hit on season two. In season one, Molly doesn’t really get to the stage of confronting her own preconceived ideas about sexuality with respect to her parents. She just freaks out, judges them and doesn’t turn back. I feel it’s crucially important to explore how characters are hypocritical. This also plays into the expectations that are put on mothers and older women in general and the things they CAN and CAN’T do. There is prejudice even within the LGBTQ+ community and I think that is also important to explore. We all need to continue learning acceptance with one another. I hope that season 2 leads Molly to a place of acceptance and learning about her mother.
Perrie, Elle has to deal with her own parental conflicts when she finds out that her mom is dating a much younger man in the wake of her parents’ new divorce. How does she react to that? It also brings up an interesting point – age gaps in a theoretical context are one thing, but it’s another thing when it involves your parents!
PV: Elle feels like she has a lot of her life together. She has a great job, home, she dates who she wants. She feels really free, like there isn’t anything holding her back. When she discovers that her mom has had an affair with a younger man, it does a few different things to her understanding of her own sense of reality. The sense of betrayal goes beyond her parent’s relationship and Elle also feels betrayed by her mom. There is a breach of trust and respect. Elle’s mom, Patricia, is doing what feels right for her but it’s ultimately extremely selfish. I think regardless of age, we have a difficult time seeing our parents as sexual beings, especially when we have to witness them in the new stages dating or the throes of passion. But what we also wanted to look at the double standard between older men dating younger women – which is quite a cliche in our society. But when older women date younger men there is a complete societal incomprehension. Elle is having to deal with betrayal of her mom’s affair and the safety of her family unit exploding, which is a huge personal unravelling, but also having to see her mom unabashedly and brazenly embracing her sexuality. Being around new cuddly couples is tough – when it’s one of your parents? It’s another level.
Did you draw inspiration from your own life experiences to make the show?
HL: 100% and we’ve been very vocal about that because we think it is important. As we came through our life experiences and were on the other side of them then the process of research and connecting with others online who went through similar experiences started. Molly and Elle have become amalgamations of lots of stories.
PV: Yes. Everything is based on real-life experiences and re-configured, re-imagined and re-packaged!
Would you say that there’s some similarities between AvocadoToast the series and other female driven comedies like Broad City?
HL: I honestly am the worst person to answer that. I have avoided Broad City as much as I can because we were writing. But I’m sure there are. The most I can say is that I think AvocadoToast the series leans to the serious more than Broad City. We aren’t even writing anymore and I can’t bring myself to watch Feel Good yet because there is a Canadian/Brit queer female love story. I am so happy queer female representation is becoming more mainstream and I can’t wait to binge so many things once we have launch on May 18th.
PV: I think artists and creators are constantly responding to their surroundings, so I guess on a sociological level being a woman creates a similar lens to look through, which can create a point of unity throughout female driven projects. Our project is written from our truth, and there are a lot of funny moments too, because often truth leans into humour. I love comedy and definitely want to make people laugh. But all we can do as human beings is speak from our individual perspectives and life-stories so it’s hard to say that it’s like anything that currently exists and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s similar to other female-lead projects aside from the fact that it’s also proudly female-lead.
Why was it so important for you to center narratives about sexuality and acceptance?
HL: For me, I enjoy watching content that makes me laugh, makes me cry and makes me feel like I’ve seen a story I haven’t seen before. That’s what I set out to create. We need these stories to affect larger societal changes. It would have helped me to have more bisexual characters to point to when I was navigating what to call myself and how I felt. As a general rule, we don’t like to think about or acknowledge our parents’ sex lives.
PV: I think anyone who goes through something new that often isn’t reflected back to them in standard media needs support shown to them so they can feel less alone. I think we need a community when we’re going through something new and scary. When you realize you have a different sexual orientation than what has commonly been reflected back to you on TV, you need something to hold onto, a narrative of people who have gone before you to know you’re not wrong or weird and you’re still loved. When your family falls apart and everything you knew crumbles away you need to know that other people have felt that way too, and you’re still able to carry on. We need community and that’s what we’re trying to create through stories like these.
Why did you decide to focus on the sexcapades of both Molly and Elle’s parents?
HL: That is totally a general rule that I definitely follow but on a larger stage(society), we desexualize women over the age of 40 and that is something we want to help change. How do we change that? Representation. We want to create female characters who are still discovering things about themselves and having awakenings as they age into incredible older women.
PV: Ithink it’s because we have a hard time imagining our parents as real people. They’re sort of make-believe characters and we create a fantasy-non-human world around them and who they are. It’s like when you would run into a teacher at the mall or something. It was hard to believe they existed outside of school. It also feels extremely taboo to integrate sex with parent-talk. But we also wanted to look at that head on and talk about the fact that we are weirded out by it. It was our way of drawing a line of connection between the two generations. Younger generations often feel like they’re the first person to ever do something kinky… and I can almost guarantee that your grandparents were freakier than you are. So let’s make it less taboo! We had some interesting talks with our multi-generational cast and crew in our additional content videos about sex and talking about it with our parents. Look out for those on our website and YouTube!
How do each of your characters progress throughout the season?
HL: Molly starts the season returning to Canada for a teaching job after having to live/work in the U.K. to get teaching experience. When she returns to her old Canadian life she is forced to come to terms with everything that has changed since she left, mainly the fact that she’s been dating a woman the entire time she was gone and none of her friends, family, or co-workers know. She falls prey to internalized homophobia as she gets outed through social media at school, and has a meltdown while teaching a conservative government restricted sex education class. She wants to lean on her best friend Elle but Elle is wrapped up in her own dilemma. She decides to end the relationship and repress her bisexuality to get back to her old Canadian life but the heartbreak from denying what she wants and who she loves starts to bleed into every aspect of her life. Finally Molly is forced to stop waiting in the wings and to act on her impulses.
PV: Elle goes through a personal softening in many ways. She’s quite brash and ‘take-no-prisoners’ off the top. She takes what she wants. But I think by the end she realizes how much she needs her friends and ultimately is forced into a place of vulnerability.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com “Avocado Toast the series” Spotlights Bisexuality, Parental Divorce, and the Generational Stigmas of Sex. Photo Credit (headshots): David Leyes Photography.
There was a time when daytime television in the United States was appointment television for so many people, especially for stay-at-home moms and housewives. It flourished with countless talk shows and soap operas such as All My Children and One Life to Live. Fast-forward to 2019, where there are now just four daytime soap operas to watch. But even so, we are also living in a time when traditional television viewing is declining, and more people are turning to streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime as alternatives to catch their favorite shows.
In 2010, director, producer, and writer Gregori J. Martin began production for a new digital drama series called The Bay. The show stars a number of well-known actors in the daytime soap opera world, such as Days of Our Lives star Mary Beth Evans, as well as a number of prime time stars and even several newcomers, like Karrueche Tran (pictured below). It takes place in the very posh seaside town of Bay City, where “the privileged residents find themselves entangled in a series of dilemmas involving rape, blackmail, sordid lovers, and vindictive arch rivals. Their lives riddled with forbidden love, malicious lies, and never-ending scandals, the town’s privileged tangle with those who confuse obsession for love, vengeance for justice, and power for success.” Starting in the Summer of 2016, the show moved to Amazon Prime, after initially being shown on the now-defunct Blip.tv. It is now in its fourth season.
A scene from The Bay, featuring Karrueche Tran as Vivian Johnson along with costar, Kristos Andrews as Peter Garrett
The show has been critically acclaimed for its acting, visuals, production values, writing, directing, and storytelling, In 2015, Entertainment Weekly named the show “one of the 4 best soap operas on the web.” Because of this, the show has won over 20 awards, including several Daytime Emmy Awards. The show is also known for its large, interconnected, racially diverse cast. It feels like an actual community, leaning on each other during times of need. If you loved Dynasty, Melrose Place, and Desperate Housewives, you will most likely enjoy binge watching The Bay. It has everything you ever need and want in a good, juicy, compelling drama. A murder mystery, a dramatic court case, and all the twist and turns you could possibly imagine. Need I say more?
What if you woke up one day and suddenly had the opportunity to seize the identity of New York City’s most notorious Don Juan? That’s the question posed by creative collaborators Forrest and Tyler Silvers in their new comedy series Becoming Jiff, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Tyler, who writes and serves as executive producer on the series as well as playing the titular character, thoroughly enjoyed combining his friend’s experiences with his own to create a character that felt lived in even before he stepped on set. As for trading places, Tyler appears content to leave identity theft up to his fictional counterpart…unless he was given the opportunity to be as wholesomely happy as man’s best friend! In the future, it looks like time and space itself might not even be a barrier with Tyler’s upcoming film project, Guy Down the Road, a time traveling comedy.
Cliché: What are you currently working on?
Tyler Silvers: We have a new time travel comedy feature film we’re working on called Guy Down the Road. It’s really funny, and like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
How did you know that comedy was the genre for you?
I think my brother Forrest and I just write and perform what is true to us, and life to us is often a series of funny events. The happy ones, the sad ones, the weird ones, there’s comedy in all of it if you look at it the right way. A lot of life is tough so I think your best option is to have a sense of humor about it.
Who are your biggest comedic inspirations?
That’s a hard one because I’m a big fan of so many different types of comedy, but I truly love Steve Martin. No one makes me laugh harder, and his jokes get better every time you think about them. And I respect that his humor is rarely topical which I think makes it timeless. There’s not a lot of things worse than having to watch a standup set about Michael Dukakis or Jamiroquai and not getting any of the references. In terms of comedic actors, Tom Hanks and Owen Wilson are two of my favorites. They have the ability to take any character, no matter how odd, unlikable, or quirky they may seem on paper, and really bring them to life in a very lovable, funny and understanding way for the audience. And in terms of personal inspiration, Forrest and I have some friends who are real “characters” for lack of a better word, and they give us more inspiration and ideas than we know what to do with.
You frequently collaborate with your brother, Forrest. Do you think that working with your family creates more honest feedback on your work? What are the benefits of combining family and business?
Absolutely. Forrest and I know each other so well creatively and personally, it’s a cliche, but we can finish each other’s sentence, and communicate just with looks, and we trust each other completely. We both make each other better. He’s even saved my life I think three times already in the past twenty five years, so I owe him! Also a lot of times people in general, even when they are trying to be honest, their opinions can be clouded by their biases, so you may not be getting the honest feedback you need. But collaborating with your brother you never have to worry about that. Also I personally feel that Forrest is one of the best comedy filmmakers working today, so I’m lucky to be able to collaborate with him.
Talk about your new series, Becoming Jiff. Give us some insight on who Jiff is as a character.
Becoming Jiff is a comedy series that’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It’s about a young man named Jiff who isn’t really happy in his life. He has taken the traditional path that society has given him and he is now lost. One day he gets a new cell phone number that belongs to a mysterious “Ladies Man” named Alejandro Alejandro, so he and his buddies Roy and Tony T decide to hatch a plan, where Jiff will try to take on Alejandro Alejandro’s identity. It’s about how sometimes you have to take a step back in your life to realize what really matters, and build from that emotional place to figure out your true self. And sometimes there’s bumps along the road.
What was your reaction when you found out that the series had been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films?
We were truly thrilled. We had some other offers, but it was a dream to collaborate with Samuel Goldwyn Films. Goldwyn has an amazing history, being nominated for Oscars, having commercial hits, but most importantly they have a great track record of championing emerging filmmakers and talent.
You wrote and star in Becoming Jiff as well as serving as executive producer. Is it fun to be able to write for the character you’re playing?
Yeah it’s great. When you write the character I think you have a very deep connection to the character. Because when you create things you almost always draw from people, events, and moments from your actual life, so your character is imbued with your personal history. So when it comes time to play that character, you already know him inside and out before you even start the first rehearsals.
Jiff is your quintessential average Joe who suddenly finds himself mistaken for a Casanova. Is that a role that he adapts to well? Would you consider yourself a ladies’ man or do you identify more with Jiff?
(Laughing) I think of myself more like Jiff in the sense that I believe it’s more important to connect with someone on an emotional level than anything else. I think something very important that Becoming Jiff says about relationships is that the key to meeting someone you really connect with is by following your passions, and then you will meet the right people in life. If you try to be a jerk and objectify people, I don’t think you will get very far or find much happiness.
Did you draw on your own experiences (or misadventures) with dating for Jiff’s storylines?
(Laughing) Yeah in some ways. And from experiences of some of my male and female friends. I have one friend who receives a lot of texts the way Alejandro Alejandro does. It’s kind of crazy to me people text such intimate details of their lives to almost complete strangers, I usually just text emojis and jokes, and at the end of the day I’m still more of a phone call person!
If you could assume someone else’s identity, who would it be and why?
My first thoughts are fictional characters or characters from history (laughing), but that counts more as time travel I guess. Maybe the Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom or JK Rowling. You know what, I’d assume the identity of my friend’s dog. He’s so happy, everyone loves him, he gets free food, and he doesn’t have a care in the world.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Becoming Jiff’s Tyler Silvers on Comedy, Family, And Navigating Mistaken Identity. Photo Credit: Forrest Silvers.