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"Uninspired Interview: highly relatable millennial aimlessness" written by Elizabeth Yoo was first published on RuneWorks.com
Becky Yamamoto’s hilarious web series Uninspired offers succinct episodes of highly relatable millennial aimlessness. Women-driven television shows such as HBO’s Insecure and Comedy Central’s Broad City (both of which started off as web series) make us laugh, cringe and nod our heads in agreement. We’ve all had embarrassing experiences and stumbling blocks while on the road to adulthood.
Living in Brooklyn with her stoner boyfriend, Sarah, played by Yamamoto, encounters people, whether they be romantic prospects, friends, or co-workers, with seemingly zero knowledge of social mores, much to her chagrin (and our laughter).
The pilot, which debuted in 2013, played at the New York Television Festival that year. In a partnership with IFC, an episode is highlighted in the Comedy Crib on IFC’s website, as part of an assortment of short-form comedies from NYTF’s Official Selections of years past.
I interviewed creator, writer, producer, and actress Yamamoto over the phone shortly before the season 2 launch party earlier held at Videology last month. Each episode of the 6-episode season, directed by Adam Wirtz, will be released every Friday until the end of this month. Yamamoto provided insights into the formation of the protagonist and explained her process.
One of the things I love about this show is how relatable it is. You keep rooting for this character but you know something is always gonna go badly.
Every time she experiences a setback, something new comes into her life: a potential new guy, a new friend, a new job… and then everything kind of becomes more disappointment. Is this something you’ve seen a lot in your own life or people you’ve known?
Yeah, totally. I think a lot of it is almost, like, directly drawn from everyday kind of experiences like frustrations, where people that you are forced to interact with because, you know, New York, and life, and everyone’s so close to you… For instance that job [In season one, a hysterical episode involves Sarah signing cards as part of her new temp job]. I’ve had so many weird, questionable jobs… like that job where I have to sign Christmas cards is a job I’ve actually had before. When I first moved here, it was my temp agency that signed me up… I had to sign, I forget how many… I think it was, like, a ridiculous amount. I had to change color pens based on the different people. It was kind of amazing. A lot is drawn directly from things that happened to me or my friends. It’s kind of like that.
How did the idea for the show come about?
Specifically, I think I just wanted to do something that was kind of the expression of what’s been going on with me. The first season I made a couple of years back, stuff with relationships. I do stand-up too so a lot of my stuff is personal and autobiographical. I figured I would do something that was more of a narrative. I used to do solo shows before but I feel like this might be a format that was more relatable, easier.
You write all the episodes yourself?
I do, yes.
What is the creative process like?
At the time I was kind of in a writing group so we’d meet up every couple weeks and bring episodes, things that we’re working on, and I think I’d get an idea from something that just happened to me, see if I could put it into something…. It’s a mixed process.
What were some of the challenges in creating this web series?
I think when you’re making something yourself you have to motivate yourself to actually get it done. That’s always a challenge because there wasn’t a production company that was pushing me to make it. I decided I wanted to do it. So I think that was a challenge. Also, I was lucky enough to have a director I love working with who was game for whatever I wanted to do. So that challenge was tackled. Locations are a challenge on a low budget… It was a lot of neighbors, asking a lot of friends for favors… So those are some challenges. I started asking people for things all the time. So those are just some of the logistical challenges, I think.
What do you think makes cringe comedy so effective?
I think I’m really drawn to it naturally. I remember the first time I saw the British Office, I was like, “Oh my God, this makes my heart ache to watch.” It was so uncomfortable. I just love it. A lot of British comedies like to go there. Also, I just saw Fleabag recently and it was really very intense. I just love when people are willing to go there. Just make everyone uncomfortable. I guess this is my chance to be the same. It kind of hits you pretty hard. I guess that’s what people respond to, really.
Can you tell me some of your favorite TV shows or movies in that vein? Some of your influences?
I love the Office, I love Seinfeld, and I love Larry David. And I watch dramas… I’ve being watching Transparent and that’s not really super funny… I’m not laughing at it but I really love that show.
What should we expect in season 2?
I’m trying to think of all the episodes at the same time… Visiting some old characters and seeing a little bit more of their background. There’s a dream episode which I’m really excited about… In the first season, there was a lot of stupid stuff that happened… A lot of similar, kind of awkward situations and a couple of weird turns which I think will be really great.