Gay, straight, whatever your background or belief — humans are messy, unpredictable, scary, loving creatures. Playwright and actor Kit Williamson's web series, the dark comedy Eastsiders, captures this idea with stark, surprising beauty.
Eastsiders follows the relationship of Silver Lake–based Cal (Williamson) and long-term boyfriend Thom (Van Hansis) after Thom admits he's been unfaithful. Throw into the mix hilarious, outspoken and confused BFF Kathy (Constance Wu) and charming and incorrigible "other man" Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) and you will forget you're watching an indie web series and balk when the episodes end around minute 15.
"I wanted to write a story about a gay couple that didn't conform to the stereotypes we're used to seeing — both the positive and negative," Williamson says.
Williamson funded the first two episodes independently, then raised more than $25,000 from eager fans on Kickstarter — which was $10,000 more than he'd planned. Logo TV, the first U.S. commercial TV channel geared to the LGBT community, offered to host the series on its site. "It's really been the best of both worlds, having the autonomy that an independent production allows you and having the backing of a company like [Logo parent] Viacom," Williamson enthuses. "They've really helped us get the word out."
And that word deserves to be spread far and wide. True to Williamson's original quest, Eastsiders is not just a story for LGBT viewers. Gay men and women have been relating to straight relationships on TV for years. Cal and Thom's journey trying to love each other through the mess they've created, be there for their friends and figure out who they are to each other and themselves feels pretty damn universal. —Stephanie Carrie
The Tangled Web We Watch is our new column on what's worth watching online. Watch Eastsiders at EastsidersTheSeries.com. Read Stephanie Carrie's full interview with Kit Williamson on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.
Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes