Skip directly to content

We Are with the Band Review

on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 00:00

Bands have always attracted groupies. In the late 1960s, for instance, a group of hardcore Beatles fans used to hang around both the Apple Corp building and Abbey Road Studios in London. Known as “Apple Scruffs,” they were immortalized in both the George Harrison song of the same name as well as Paul McCartney’s “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” a reference to when some of them broke into his home via—appropriately enough—an upstairs window. Then there was Pamela Des Barres, who became a regular feature in the Los Angeles music scene during the same time period and eventually had sexual trysts with everyone from Jim Morrison to Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page.

The web series We Are with the Band focuses on a pair of modern day groupies, Elle Franklin (Heleya de Barros) and Marci Kline (Vivian Kerr), as they attempt to party their way through life while inevitably “living the dream” in the process. During the course of the series, the two Los Angeles hipsters experience more misadventure than adventure when their names are not included on a nightclub’s VIP list, attempt to cleanse their bodies with a mixed concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne, and fail to attend a warehouse party because they passed out on their front lawn after overindulging on vodka beforehand.

In many ways, Elle and Marci are more wannabes than actual groupies and have an air of naïve innocence about them as they fashion their cutting edge lifestyle. The so-called “dream” that they are living includes a fair amount of independence, the lack of traditional employment and plenty of alcohol. There is a genuine chemistry between the two leads and the dynamics of the pair—with Elle as the leader and Marci as the follower—is played with a loveable charm that adds to the authentic feel of the series.

The eight episodes that make up the first season are short, lasting anywhere from three-to-five minutes each, but writer Vivian Kerr is able to pack enough “story” into that time span to make them entertaining nonetheless. Comparisons to another Los Angeles-based web series that follows the lives of its female characters, Fourplay in LA, quickly come to mind—that series likewise has shorter episodes, but while they are more standalone narratives, We Are with the Band has a serial quality that is best served when all of the installments are watched concurrently.

We Are with the Band also shares the same level of quality dialogue as Fourplay in LA and is filled with a plethora of catchy one-liners. Examples include: “He’s corporate, he takes yoga and has health insurance,” “This is going to be an important night for us, Marci—I feel like Obama on election night,” “Why does our social life have to be dictated by these velvet rope whores?” “Fashion is a big part of fitness,” “Liver damage only happens after 30,” “Every time they change their name it’s like a new band,” and “What are we waiting for? We only have four hours to get ready and new fishnets do not buy themselves.”

While television is often a male-dominated industry, it is refreshing to see a new wave of female writers making their debut via the web series medium. The list not only includes Kerr of We Are with the Band and Hillary Rhodes from Fourplay in LA, but Carmen Elena Mitchell of The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else as well. The fact that their talents have been realized outside of traditional Hollywood is a testament to the equalizing promise of the Internet, and for the creators of We Are with the Band, that may have even been the point.

Heleya de Barros and Vivian Kerr met at the University of Southern California and eventually found their way to Los Angeles. Actors by trade, they formed a production company in 2009, DK Productions, that is described on their website as “dedicated to producing ambitious female-driven projects” and “has an ongoing commitment to the development of new work and aims to expand opportunities for women in comedy.” We Are with the Band is their first endeavor together, and certainly lives up to the mission statement of the partnership.

“We wanted to do a show that was a little bit outside of the mainstream, inspired more by British comedy,” Kerr explained to PopCultureMonster in May 2010. “There’s a lack of humility and self-awareness in Los Angeles which is very funny to me, and hipsters are pretty ripe for parody.”

“When we graduated from college Vivian and I started going to see a lot of local music in LA,” de Barros further expanded. “As we started to learn the club scene we were blown away by some of the characters we met. Often the ‘people watching’ between sets was more interesting than the music. When we started to brainstorm about writing a series we thought the hipster scene would make great material. We also thought the idea of these two girls who are trying to find themselves spoke to a large audience. There are a lot of LA specific jokes, but I think anybody can relate to the struggles Elle and Marci deal with.”

We Are with the Band certainly fits the criteria set forth by the show’s creators and is a humorous portrayal of two young female hipsters exploring the underground band scene in Los Angeles. Elle and Marci may be living a life of misadventure, but with strong acting, memorable dialogue and overall quality, the web series itself is an enjoyable—and yes, relatable—adventure for viewers everywhere.

Anthony Letizia (August 20, 2010)

Follow Geek Pittsburgh: Facebook - Twitter - RSS Feed