Growing up as a lanky, bookish, clumsy girl, I remember experiencing watching my best friend (who was busty, blond, and outgoing) as she dove head-first into the dating scene, leaving me to spend weeks and sometimes months wondering if she was doing okay…or if she was even still alive. But in a best friend relationship, sometimes the old cliché is in effect: if you care about something set it free, if it comes back…
This is the premise of the new independent web series The Best Friend: a romantic comedy shown through the POV of the best friend character rather than the ingenue. In the first episode we see Millie, gobbling away at a tub of ice cream and talking to her mother who is trying to convince her she’s wasting her time with therapy. Her best friend, the seemingly perfect Sooze, is in love and nowhere to be found.
But despite her mother’s best efforts, Millie is back at the therapist’s office where she pours out her deepest neuroses…in song.
Created by real life best friends Marilyn Anne Michaels and Allie Smith, first time self-producers who created the show on less than a $1,000 budget (most of which went to food, they explained). Said Smith: “all the artists out there creating their own work today in New Media now have been a great inspiration to me … Felicia Day’s story is an especially inspiring one as is Stephanie Thorpe and Taryn O’Neill’s of the After Judgment series and my good friend John Beck Hoffman who just kicked off his series Tyranny last month to an already great response. The pioneers in New Media have opened my eyes to how much can be done with this medium and given me the confidence to just go for it!”
The fact that the two creators are truly best friends gives the show a very authentic feel, while still giving the romantic comedy genre a unique twist. Said Michaels: “We used our relationship as a jumping off point. Then we studied romantic comedies and chose some of the iconic characters we have all seen a million times before (the ingenue, the best friend, the neurotic and over-protective mother, etc) and the idea is to introduce them as such and then twist it — see them in a different way.”
And then of course there is the added bonus of the original music in the series, which manages to be fantastical and yet not pushed past the bounds of preserving the ability to suspend disbelief. “Singing and dancing is just one of the ways people express themselves in high stakes situations,” said Smith. “Given that the rest of the episodes are each only 3 minutes in length, we can’t promise that there will be a song in every episode, but without giving too much away, our viewers can definitely expect many more surprises. Millie’s character has a very active fantasy life and that will be a huge part of trying to tell the story through her point of view.”
The women have committed to a ten-episode season. “The series will follow Millie and Sooze’s journey as their relationship evolves into a much less dysfunctional one, and they realize they are capable of bringing out the best in each other,” said Smith. “Which we can say is absolutely true of ourselves.”
“I certainly identify with the Millie character and think many other women of all ages will too, and it’s very important to us to not send out the wrong message. To us, all women are beautiful in one way or another, being the ‘ugly friend’ is just a state of mind,” concluded Michaels.