WIGS, the YouTube channel composed entirely of shows featuring female leads, bills itself as “the most popular scripted channel for drama on YouTube,” with shows featuring stars like Julia Stiles and Virginia Madsen. And while drama appears to be a big winner for WIGS (the channel’s accumulated 16+ million views since its initial upload four months ago), it looks like its programming is starting to venture into new territory.
This week, the channel premiered Georgia, a heartfelt comedy from Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman. The three episode miniseries stars Mary Elizabeth Ellis (of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia fame) as Georgia, a yogic healer, with Harold Perrineau (of Lost) as Michael, her exasperated long-time boyfriend.
Kauffman’s excellent writing leads the way, as she creates quick, snappy dialogue that never wastes a line or delivers a cheap gag. This isn’t laugh-out-loud comedy, but rather smart, situational humor, and the episodes are easy to enjoy in that regard. Kauffman’s control over the web series format is evident in the way her style commands the show’s sensibility.
“Marta Kaufmann really had control as opposed to there being a ton of executives behind her giving her their opinions,” said Ellis (Note: I was lucky enough to talk to both of the leads ahead of the show’s premiere). “I think she really got to do exactly what she wanted.” It makes me wonder if Friends would’ve been even funnier if, like WIGS, it had been free of an obtrusive laugh track.
The three episodes essentially add up to one pilot-length feature, with each of the two episodes released thus far detailing Georgia’s work with a unique and challenging client. Just as Georgia does not shy away from a sexually-repressed basket case or a horny little person, Ellis relishes the chance to act in such absurd situations. “Women always play the roles of ‘Hey you, stop being so crazy, I’m the woman and I’m going to keep everyone together!’ It’s nice to see a woman be a little bit messy.”
Part of her messiness comes from Michael, who is moving in a different direction, towards stability. “I’ve been that guy before in a relationship, where I’m a little more into her than she’s into me,” explained Perrineau. “That’s where we find Georgia and Michael; he wants to go forward and do things and she’s a little more hesitant.” The scenes that showcase these clashing ideals (particularly when Georgia’s disapproving parents are involved) are among the best in the show.
The third episode will be released on Friday, and Ellis hinted that the ending might not be what we expect. “I think the story was left at a really interesting place and I’d love to see what happens to Georgia the character.” No matter how this miniseries ends, the cast would love for Georgia to go beyond just a few episodes. “After watching and being a part of it I’m really curious about where that spirit goes,” commented Perrineau. Personally, I agree. The characters on Georgia are extremely round and I’m certainly curious about what other kinds of messiness Kauffman can create within Georgia’s world.
Photo Credit: WIGSCO, LLC