It's a wonder the busy actress, writer and comedian Melinda Hill has any time for romantic encounters these days. Yet between recording her new comedy single, touring the world doing stand-up and co-presenting local comedy show What's Up Tiger Lily? and storytelling show The Happy Hour Storytelling Experiment, she found time to make a web series about just that.
Hill's dark and delightful slice-of-life comedy series for My Damn Channel follows her on-screen alter ego as she blunders her way through L.A. in search of a soul mate. Along the way she pits her comic wit against the likes of Dana Gould, TJ Miller and Kirk Fox.
In the footsteps of Louie and many classic '90s sitcoms, episodes are based on stories from Hill's stand-up. “Performing it first gives you a distinct advantage because the material gets worked out and honed with a live audience,” Hill says in an interview.
She and director Adam Scott Franklin, her frequent collaborator, mapped out the entire series over eight hours one day, moving from restaurant to restaurant to switch up their milieu. They avoided the trap of many dating web series, however, by moving away from the dinner date and setting their dating disasters in a variety of L.A. locales — fancy downtown lofts, office boardrooms, Hill's own couch and the parking lot of the Brite Spot diner in Silver Lake.
Encounter's heroine is adorable, witty and charming. She's fun to watch but also naive, badly behaved and wacky. “She really wants to connect romantically, to the point of glossing over blatant red flags,” Hill says of her alter ego.
Her flaws allow the show to avoid becoming a tirade against men in the dating world. Everyone can watch this show and say, “Ugh, I dated someone like that. And I'd probably do it again.” —Stephanie Carrie
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what's worth watching online. Watch Romantic Encounters at mydamnchannel.com. Read Stephanie Carrie's full interview with Melinda Hill on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.