Suddenly TheWB is not just for teens anymore. TheWB.com has launched a much more adult slate of programming this winter, and so far the more adult-geared humor has delivered. Earlier this week the holiday treats came early with the all-at-once launch of Rob Coddry’s Childrens’ Hospital. But you might have missed Joni and Susanna, an equally delightful present with all six episodes dished out this week (see trailer above).
The semi-scripted web series was created by Joni Lefkowitz, and Susanna Fogel who met in a Second City LA sketch comedy class six years ago. After putting a number of low-fi videos up on Joni’s YouTube channel, it wasn’t long before they found themselves with a deal from Warner Bros. There’s no doubting there are few topics that are taboo for Joni and Susanna, which help makes their web series a joyous, uncensored romp. Kudos to TheWB for introducing a show with noticeable creative freedom in the midst of what originally smelled like a site geared to the younger CW set.
As if that wasn’t enough, the sassy girls are also head writers for the HBO pilot Washingtonienne produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, garnering buzz even before an official nod by HBO. The adaptation of the Jessica Cutler novel, based on a real-life DC sex scandal, the series will peruse the professional and personal lives of three smart, sophisticated twenty-something girls working on Capitol Hill.
Joni and Susanna focuses on the relationship two women with a touch of OCD who can’t resist a good sh*t talking session. For them, anyone is fair game–a hairdresser, a workout partner, a significant other, but when it comes to talking crap about each other, it’s subtle, and passive-aggressive. For the audience, it’s pure gossip-voyeur entertainment.
The two women are like a modern day version of Annie Hall, without the heterosexual relationship. They are more like hetero life-mates; Joni is gay, Susanna is straight. As Lefkowtiz put it in a recent interview with AfterEllen, “Lesbians and straight girls are the perfect marriage because the lesbian isn’t a threat to the straight girl’s game, and the straight girl gets validation from the thought that if she were gay, the lesbian would want to be with her.” Susanna’s character agrees in a episode where Joni’s attempt to come out to her mom goes fails miserably. Susanna says, “I’m here for you.. every day. I’m like your wife.”
That said, sexual orientation is irrelevant to the show’s dead-on irreverent humor. The two speak in a stream of consciousness style riddled with quips musing on the inane and asinine ins and outs of the people one meets. They’re merciless and brutal too, and every other rant seems to remind me of Woody Allen standing in line at the movie theater, bemoaning to the camera how people with loud opinions spoil everything.
Some highlights of their casual rants include: Joni observing that a friend’s laugh reminds her of “a crying baby combined with a really intense orgasm.” When Susanna’s crush finally asks her to walk him to his car she cluelessly asks “Did you park really far?” In another episode, Joni states that a work-out friend gives her the “retard tingles” every time she lets out a deep sigh.
But recounting much more here would spoil the fun. The series is filled with observational humor that while familiar is devilishly catching with the fresh voices of the show’s stars. To top it all off, there’s no waiting weeks on show release dates, so giving in to the instant gratification of Joni and Susanna is shamelessly easy.