The only time I regret my lack of familiarity with soap operas is when I watch Horrible People, but A.D. Miles’ delightful interpretation of daytime television is so over the top that I don’t need to know my way around Port Charles, New York to be in on the jokes.
Watching 3Way is a different story. Several hours worth of SOAPnet or CliffNotes from a stay-at-home parent with an affinity for Susan Lucci would’ve probably helped provide some context to this soap opera comedy.
Siobhan – played by Maeve Quinlan, a regular on Bold and The Beautiful for a decade – is a soap opera star recently divorced from an action movie star (hmmm…considering Quinlan was married to Tom Sizemore from 1996 – 1999, maybe the series is as much catharsis as it is passion project?). After divorcing her husband, Siobhan moves in with Roxie – played by Cathy Shim of Reno 911! and Mad TV – her best friend and a lesbian.
Staying true to the punchline of everyone’s favorite lesbian joke, Roxie invites her girlfriend, Andrea – played by Jill Bennett – to live with them. This creates an awkward, Three’s Company-esque situation.
Roxie’s ex, Geri, soon joins them (which sort of ruins the whole “3Way” concept, but whatevs). Geri’s role is sort of unclear. She’s a security guard (I think?), but she’s played by Maile Flanagan, who’s hilarious so it’s okay.
You can see how the premise of the show is a bit awkwardly contrived, but if you can get over that, the character-driven comedy is spot on. I think a lot of the humor references soap opera shows and genre conventions, which I don’t quite get, but it’s still funny.
The episodes only get better as the series goes on. There are healthy doses of lesbian action to carry you through the entire series, but the characters begin to find their footing after episode 5. My favorite episode so far is one in which each of Siobhan’s roommates take on a very extreme role while trying to help her learn lines for an audition.
3Way does lack some structure. It seems to expect the viewer to be familiar with the characters and the general concept of the show, which comes off as sloppy, especially next to the high quality of the production. I often find myself wondering why the characters are where they are, or doing what they’re doing, but they’re funny anyway.
The series has already had a full, 12-episode “season,” (right now the production team is looking for more funding, but they plan to produce an episode a week, either on the web or on a broadcast platform). The installments that last longer than they should (some go over 20 minutes), but each has a few minutes worth of bloopers and behind the scenes clip at the end. There’s also a video blog that features “confessionals” from each character that are often as good, if not better than the regular episodes.