We Are With the Band Tackles More than Hipsterdom


[show=wearewiththeband size=large]The smartest thing I’ve read recently about the use of the term hipster is this, from Linda Holmes’ excellent piece on NPR.org: “You almost never see a person who self-identifies as a hipster; you are much more likely to be left to cobble together a definition of ‘hipster’ from the empty spaces left behind after everybody else is through defining themselves as emphatically, in no way, under no circumstances, any kind of a hipster.” And thus — though the show uses the term itself — I hesitate to apply the moniker to We Are With the Band, a Koldcast comedy about two girls with plastic day-glo earrings, obscure musical tastes and encyclopedic knowledge of the Silver Lake music scene.

That doesn’t keep the show from being one of the fresher and better-written comedies I’ve seen recently, though, mining hungover mornings and near escapes from rape and murder for maximum funny. The reason for that is mostly down to creators and stars Heleya de Barros and Vivian Kerr being unafraid to set themselves up as figures for ridicule: Elle and Marci, broke but still aspiring to fabulousness, make on average three or four extremely poor choices per episode, but stagger along anyways with no shortage of charm.

The most pleasant surprise about the first four episodes is how the relationship between Elle and Marci gains in depth and complexity — female friendships are often minefields of potential conflict, and the show’s strongest moments are definitely found in the interactions between the two girls. It doesn’t take long for Elle’s role as the leader and Marci’s role as the screw-up to emerge, but the power dynamic between them isn’t nearly so simple, something which will only prove to be more interesting as the series continues.

Some of the references made by the show only really work if you’re familiar with this very specific Los Angeles subculture, such as Marci’s declaration that “this is why I never go east west of the 101 [freeway]” (which is funny to this Angeleno because of friends in the Silver Lake area who seriously refuse to do so).

But Elle and Marci do also have a universal quality to them — whether you’re living it now or remembering it less than fondly, almost everyone has had a taste of the booze-soaked, debt-laden, uncertainty-filled years of one’s mid-twenties depicted here. Hipster or not, we’ve all been there, and us survivors deserve a good laugh.

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“You almost never see a person who self-identifies as a hipster”?

I realize this analysis is stuck into whatever passes for this week’s definition du San Francisco; but, there are folks whose lives swing all the way back to the era of Ginsberg’s “angel-headed hipsters” or Norman Mailers Advertisements for Myself.

Rock on!

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