Friday, 5 June 2009

Imaginary Bitches

Please pardon the language, it's what this online sitcom is called! Though it's not only online nowadays as the complete first season has now been released on DVD. The creators kindly sent me a copy, and I have to say that I very much enjoyed the series. There are 13 episodes, approx 5-8 minutes each, plus some extra features. (Total runtime comes in at 118 minutes.)

The plot revolves around a young woman called Eden (played by Eden Riegel [All My Children]), whose friends all seem to be too busy with their relationships to have much time for her. Eden imagines a couple of friends, but finds that not only are they not very nice (thus the title), but also that she can't get rid of them!

Essentially a one-joke series, thanks to clever writing and good acting (and probably helped by the short length of the individual episodes), it constantly manages to find new ways to make you laugh - which is something it achieves regularly. With a small cast of characters and relatively few locations, it squeezes out a lot of humour and character development. Think Friends crossed with Ally McBeal, with a slightly less weird version of Phoebe as the main character, and you won't be too far off what Imaginary Bitches accomplishes.

The title might make you think that this will be full of offensive content and bad language, but that isn't the case. There is a little bad language and some episodes certainly deal with controversial subjects (without tact perhaps, but a lot of humour) - it's unrated but I would think a PG-13 rating is about right for it (or 12A here in the UK).

To help you decide whether this will be your sort of thing, I've added the first episode below. The first episode is a good introduction but, as you might expect, most of the episodes that follow are superior.




Of course the image and sound quality are much better on the DVD release than on its original home, YouTube - on the DVD release the sound occasionally fades a bit but is usually very good, and the picture quality is superb.


At the 2009 Webby Awards, Eden Reidel won a People's Voice award for Best Individual Performance, and the show itself got an honorary mention for the writing. The acting throughout is top notch and the writing sharp and witty.


The show is directed by Andrew Miller, who has a fine eye for humour and camera angles, and the pacing of each episode is just about perfect.


Episode List:

Episode 1: It's Not Easy Making Imaginary New Friends
Episode 2: The Dirtier Isn't Always the Better
Episode 3: Where Were You When Eden Got Drunk and Puked All Over Me and Lizzie?
Episode 4: A New Leper in the Colony
Episode 5: It's Totally What You Think
Episode 6: Help James Help You
Episode 7: A Spiritual Bitch-Bath
Episode 8: Sexy Secret Santa
Episode 9: Porn Star Priest
Episode 10: Imaginary Bridezilla
Episode 11: Only Crazy Girls Quife
Episode 12: Three Bitches is an Imaginary Crowd (Part One)
Episode 13: Three Bitches Is an Imaginary Crowd (Part Two)

Episode 7 was my favourite - very funny indeed - while episode 9 is probably the most likely to offend.

Special features:

  • Commentary on each episode
  • Blooper reel
  • Interviews

I found the commentary annoying, the bloopers generally unfunny, while the interviews were okay - but as I said, I'm not greatly into DVD extras at the best of times!

Imaginary Bitches is a great example of independent TV - it's a show that perhaps would never gain mainstream success on commercial TV, but it's already got quite a following online and I for one am looking forward to season 2. For me though, more episodes and less (or no) "special features" would be a good way to go - but that's just me!

Links:

IMDB Page for Imaginary Bitches

Official Imaginary Bitches Website


CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


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