PHOTO: Issa Rae stars as J in The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Awkward Adventures: 5 Web Series To Check Out


Nothing good on TV? Is there nothing for anyone to talk about now that Girls wrapped up its latest season? Are you tired of sitcoms that seem to recycle the same group of "quirky" friends with inexplicably giant apartments? Then look no further than the internet. There are a whole batch of web series, new and not so new, that don't have to worry about network standards or focus groups getting in the way of telling a good story about interesting (and funny and akward and sometimes kind of terrible) people. Don't know where to start? Check out these recommendations.

East WillyB
What happens when young people begin gentrifying predominantly Latino neighborhoods in Brooklyn such as Bushwick? Well, for one, I get nearly arrested for turnstyle-hopping at the Morgan stop. And, two, people have to decide whether to adapt to the influx of new people, or stand their ground. Such is the decision facing bar-owner Willie Jr, whose ex-girlfriend is helping her new guy transform his competing bar into a hipster paradise. The show is smart in that it takes on nuance, offering a glimpse not only at the "us-versus-them" schism, but at the dynamics among different groups of Latinos. Watch it here.
PHOTO: Taking Buskwick back, one Medalla Light at a time.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
It'd be impossible for me to write this without fangirling all over the place, so, in the interest of transparency: I love this show. Like, really love it. Like, yell at White Jay on my computer screen love it. "The Misadventures of Akward Black Girl," by the supremely awesome writer and actress Issa Rae, chronicles the life and times of someone we don't get to see much on TV -- the black girl who happens to be, you know. Awkward. The series has romance (love triaaaangle), friendship, and a white lady in cornrows. All my favorite things. Rae teamed up with Pharrell Williams' iamOTHER Google/Youtube channel after the he became a fan of the show. Watch it all here.
PHOTO: Yeah, things get awkward.
How Men Become Dogs
Issa Rae is also the creative force behind several other web-only series, as well as an upcoming sitcom called "I Hate L.A. Dudes." Her production company is also cultivating other talented folks, including Marc Cunningham, the creator and director of "How Men Become Dogs." The show follows three dudes who, reeling from their recent breakups, decide to try becoming jerks. I wonder how that'll work out for them. Have a look over here.
PHOTO: How Men Become Dogs is both a funny web series and a how-to(not) guide.
Failing Upwards
"Failing Upwards" follows four friends (Matt Crabtree, Pip Lilly, Michelle C. Bonilla, and Deidra Edwards) struggling with (and, sometimes, playing tipsy Scrabble during) their unemployment. The show, the brainchild of Bonilla and Crabtree, describes itself as "Arrested Development meets Reality Bites," with each episode chronicling a different odd job. (Emphasis on odd.) The show can feel uneven at times, but the performers are solid, especially when it comes to their reaction shots. Check it out here.
PHOTO: Sometimes failing is funny.
A Minority Report
Zoey Martinson is the star, co-writer, and director of "A Minority Report," a web series that takes a look at a group of friends' attempts to deal with typecasting. The series takes a while to hit its stride, but Martinson and her friends are a very relatable mix of awkward, ambitious, and over it. Plus, we've got to love a show that takes direct aim at the coded messages behind the term "urban." Episode 2 also tackles the unique challenges faced by actresses of South Asian descent -- "Every audition, it's either doctor... or 7Eleven," and Episode 3 takes a look at how one Chinese-American actor deals with what he describes as an "Egg Role." Watch it here.
PHOTO: Being a minority actor means battling typecasting (and really embarrassing freestyle raps)
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