Young Lesbian Love Is Luminous in Anyone But Me

Oh, admit it. Some of you are here solely because the phrase “young lesbian love” caught your eye. But this isn’t about that sort of Internet clip.

Anyone But Me is a coming-of-age lesbian drama in which teen protagonists in NYC dare to live out their post-pubescent love story far away from the shiny 90210 zip code and its municipally mandated boob jobs. Ahhhhh, but just because we’ve jumped coasts doesn’t make this the coke-sniffing, orgy-hosting Manhattan of Blair, Serena and Chuck, either. It’s a quieter, more poignant, post-9/11 version of the city, complete with long-distance relationships, blossoming sexuality and out-of-touch parents.

Anyone But Me follows Vivian, a teen who finds herself forced to move out of the city, and away from her girlfriend Aster, due to her father’s health complications. As if changing high schools during the tumultuous teen years isn’t agony enough, she now must navigate the less culturally diverse waters of suburbia, at a point in her life when her confidence in both her relationship — and perhaps her sexuality overall — has not yet withstood any true test. Heck, even her dad and well-meaning aunt aren’t totally clued in to the heartbreaking upheaval of it all. Welcome to My So-Called Lesbian Life, minus Claire Danes.

While the show is both thoughtful and well-acted, the episodes do intermittently give off an after-school-special sort of vibe. This may be inevitable in a series in which the main characters are, in fact, still school-aged and tripping over themselves while attempting to traverse the minefield of adult emotions. Some might argue that the slightly sanitized tone of the story could also be attributed to the fact that Vivian and Aster are essentially lipstick lesbians. Were Vivian to show up for that scary first day at her new high school with less makeup, and more armpit hair, who knows what additional hurdles and levels of prejudice she would find herself having to clear.

Anyone is the result of a collaboration between filmmaker Tina Cesa Ward and TV veteran and award-winning playwright Susan Miller. There are certain high-profile line items on Miller’s resume that are being touted to promote this web series, among them her role as the creative force behind The L Word, Thirtysomething, and other successful television series. However, as Miller has described in prior interviews, Ward was the one who had the wherewithal to develop the concept, and the wisdom and confidence to then enlist a respected talent like Miller to help take it all to the next level, which ought to earn Ward some kudos of her own.

Hosted by Strike.tv, the series began building buzz last month after it was highlighted as an Editor’s Pick at AfterEllen.com; it went on to garner additional accolades from Tilzy.tv and Tubefilter. There are four episodes currently available, with two new installments slated to arrive in March, which will undoubtedly be nothing but good news for the series’ well-deserved momentum. In the interim, the show’s creators have promised some quick online “interludes” between now and then to tide fans over.

Thus far, the series lives up to the hype. Taking a sweet, soft-focus look at adolescent angst and amour, Anyone But Me transcends the oft-politicized aspects of its storyline, and simply reminds us of what it feels like to be young and in love.

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