Superficial and homophobic—two adjectives usually not on the list of descriptors lesbians would use to identify themselves. Desiree Akhavan and Ingrid Jungermann, though, are gleefually so. The creators of the Web series The Slope, set in that hotbed of angst and self-determined pronouns, relish skewering the humorless navel gazery endemic among a certain subset of Brooklyn lesbians.
The two MFA candidates at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts hit the nail on the head when puncturing lesbian stereotypes.
Akhavan and Jungermann play themselves, a bisexual twenty-something and thirty-something lesbian, respectively, as they navigate the choppy shoals of their postmodern relationship. As the show’s writers / directors /actors / editors, they create dialogue from overheard conversations in Park Slope hangouts like Gorilla Coffee and Ginger’s, then inject the scenes with a jolt of acidic wit.
“We felt that there was a huge population of lesbians and LGBT people who were missing out on the chance to make fun of themselves, and we wanted to make a comedy in which we were calling ourselves out,” Jungermann tells GO. “We think of an issue that we’ve argued about, pick a local place where we can argue, and we shoot that. It’s all based on arguing, pretty much.”
“A lot of things had to happen, like the wave of coming-out films, before we could do this show,” Jungermann adds. “But now that they’re out there, we’re ready to be more progressive in what we’re saying.”
In the first episode, for example, Jungermann finds a lost huskie in Prospect Park and decides to bring him home, only to ignite an argument with Akhavan about who’s the better lesbian: the one who rescues a dog, or the one crying in public after an argument with her girlfriend. Later subjects include making a politically incorrect ‘It Gets Better’ video, straight guys finding lesbians hot and socially acceptable sex positions (and yes, the rescued dog makes regular appearances). Each expertly-edited three-minute vignette manages to capture the essence of lesbian drama with spot-on humor.
And humor, they say, is the crucial element. “I make comedies, and I make fun of myself no matter what I’m working on. I’ve spent my life dating women and men and I think the things that [Ingrid and I] found funny were things that were usually a little scary to say in a room full of lesbians,” Akhavan says.
In the final installment in this inaugural season of The Slope, Jungermann’s and Akhavan’s characters will be hotly debating whether to move in together—or not. After a short break,The Slope will return with a new story arc that “takes these characters and this relationship to a new level,” Akhavan promises. “And there’s definitely going to be a food co-op episode.”
See the full series at theslopeshow.wordpress.com.