It was clear, from all of the hipster- dressed boys and girls, that Adam Goldman, creator of the web series The Outs, had packed the sold- out venue the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At the door, greeting everyone, was the show’s producer, Amanda Warman — a genuine, friendly person unlike anyone you’ve heard tell-tale of in California. Inside, the bar tops were laid- out with white napkins stamped with the shows name, Whatever this is, and candy dishes full of freebie bottle openers, also with the show’s name on them.
The big screen was queued up with the show’s simple, box logo — a reversal of the color scheme used for The Outs.
The crowd went silent when Goldman took the stage. First, respect and cheers were allotted to him, in celebration of his birthday. Goldman’s words on the microphone were all-things humble, sweet, appreciative, and “funny bone” tickling. After a gracious compliment was thrown to the series’ supremely talented director of photography, Jay Gillespie, the room went dark and Whatever this is began to roll.
The first five seconds of Whatever this is was received with hysterical outbursts from the crowd of nearly three hundred people. Without giving much away, Goldman’s scripted introduction to the fictional film crew that comprises the cast of Whatever this is was nothing short of brilliant and utterly in-tune with the satire of today’s reality- based television it desires to deconstruct like “stuffed cabbage” (or “deconstructed stuffed cabbage,” as one of the characters would put it.) This uproarious and emotionally resonant momentum sustained itself throughout the pilot, “Reality,” episode’s 28 minute run- time.
Hunter Canning, after winning the hearts of web watchers with his performance as “Jack” in The Outs, reunites with Goldman to take on the role of “Sam.” This time, Canning plays it straight, struggling to pay rent with his roommates – his girlfriend and a fellow film crew member. Canning’s performance reminds audiences of his naturalism and knack for handling subtle emotions, making him a curious subject.
Actress Madeline Wise, playing “Lisa” – Canning’s girlfriend – almost runs away with the show, stealing scenes with her deadpan reactions and ability to handle situations, which involve her struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, or a cup of tea, with comedic realism. Other Goldman newcomer, Dylan Marron, as the mildly flamboyant “Ari” – or as an Upper East Side housewife puts it: “the gay one” – delivers a powerhouse premier performance, given the opportunity to explore emotional depths from personal struggles to gleeful one-liners. Ross Hamman (“Oscar”), Sasha Winters (“Dana”), Tommy Heleringer (“Toby”), and guest star Lusia Strus (in a hilarious, spot-on performance as U.E.S. Housewife “Donna”) round out the pilot episode’s remaining cast, each delivering performances worth noting for their strong character choices, and should certainly be fun to watch develop in future episodes.
Following the show I asked cast member Hunter Canning, what it was like, “It’s really exciting to be a part of something that’s bigger and bolder than The Outs… I’m really excited to see what we can dig into with this show… As it progresses [the characters] get truer and darker – they ripen with age.”
The show’s creator said, “We’re excited to share our process with more people and bring more people into our experience.”
Without a doubt, Adam Goldman’s sophomore effort is a conceptual improvement upon The Outs. With a highbrow, high- comedy concept and an irresistible core cast, Whatever this is. is sure to catch more than a “whatever” vibe from viewers whom are hungry for intelligent entertainment. To help support the cast and crew in continuing to create better- than- television programming, brought to you on the internet, visit their Kickstarter campaign and donate before time runs out: www.kck.st/15ftlXX F
or more information about the show, its cast, or to watch all new and upcoming episodes, visit: www.whateverthisis.com.