On September 18, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies Greg Youmans and his partner Chris Vargas continued the Art and Art History fall lecture series with their presentation of their collaborative sitcom project, “Falling in Love…with Chris and Greg” (2008-2013).
“Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg” is described on their website as “a situational comedy about a gay odd couple: one liberal, one radical; one transgendered, one not. They don’t have a whole lot in common, but somehow they manage.” Their sitcom series chronicles their relationship by taking more serious subjects like identity, lifestyle and politics and approaching them from a humorous and unfiltered perspective.
They began their talk with a clip from their first episode, “O Canada” (2008), which addresses the possibilities of open relationships. Chris and Greg have a hilarious argument about open relationships where Chris is open to it and Greg is highly opposed. Their satirical and unfiltered comments can’t help but make audiences laugh.
“Look!” Greg’s character says during the episode. “I don’t need to prove anything by sleeping with everyone all the time…I didn’t go to Smith. I didn’t go to Hampshire. I don’t need to parade around sex positivity to, like, prove to the world that I’m a feminist.”
The episodes are not solely based on relationship issues. They also did an episode called “Special Election PSA” (2008) during the Obama/McCain election. They still approached the topic from the same funny and blunt point of view, but were able to reach issues outside of their relationship.
As they continued to work on the project, they felt limited by the sitcom-based genre. They liked the episodic format because it allowed for more flexibility with their ideas, but for season two they decided to do something different.
The season two premiere episode is called “Work of Art Reality TV Special” (2012), where Youmans and Vargas took Bravo’s reality show “Work of Art” and edited it from an episode about pop art to an episode about queer art. They inserted themselves into the episode by staging reactions to various shots. It was a completely different style, but still maintained the same sense of fun and enjoyment.
Youmans and Vargas explained that their project sort of happened by accident. They didn’t know why they were making it when they started. Inspired by the early YouTube days, they came to realize that the internet was a very valuable and powerful place for their work to be. Although it is primarily comedic, it does address some very real issues.
“We were using the internet not to get a million hits, but to let our videos travel in unexpected ways,” Youmans said.
Youmans went on to explain that the Internet is the easiest place to allow their work to travel to those who might need to see it. “Falling in Love…with Chris and Greg” takes issues that are still very foreign to some people and brings them right to the surface and makes them accessible. Though the project initially feels fun and comedic, it has some very serious and important undertones.
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