Culture Film & TV

TV review: Fan-funded dark comedy ‘Eastsiders’ is a hidden gem

Add this to your Netflix list.

What started as a mini web series, with the first two episodes premiering on YouTube back in 2012, has become an Emmy nominated, Kickstarter funded must-see show, with three darkly funny seasons and counting.

Eastsiders follows the twists and turmoil of Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal’s (Kit Williamson) relationship, juggling sub-plots involving Cal’s best friend from university Cathy (Constance Wu) and her boyfriend Ian (John Halbach).  

There are so many components that make Eastsiders a unique and brilliant show. The heartwarming, hilarious and honest performances from all the actors; the original soundtrack; the issues it brings up and the inventive narrative structure and editing.

The fact that fans continue to support and make Eastsiders happen is incredible. There is definitely a gap in the genre for more shows like this, that the audience is craving.

Eastsiders covers so many topics from the niche ones such as struggling to begin a career in the arts industry, which can be notoriously difficult. Thom is an aspiring writer, and Cal a photographer. Their careers peak and fall throughout the show so it will be interesting to see in the final season if they reach where they want to be and the effect it will have on their relationship.

It also covers more common issues that most people will come across like infidelity and rediscovering intimacy in long term relationships and alcoholism and substance abuse.

All the episodes in season one are around ten to fifteen minutes long so, it’s super easy to get into. Once you get hooked, you will not be disappointed. 

Season one introduces the audience to Thom and Cal, in late December. They have been together for four years and Cal has just found out Thom is having an affair. After Thom goes to finish it realising he has made a mistake, he ends up sleeping with the guy again. 

From there the season follows a peculiar narrative as it takes you back in time through the events that led up to Cal discovering the affair. Then jumps to a couple of months later. It’s genius really and means if you watch it all for a second time you see a different perspective. 

Credit: Youtube

Throughout, season one the first impressions portray Cal as having a tough outer shell, often being passive aggressive towards Thom to mask his insecurities.

Thom is more outgoing and charismatic. He seems to just find everything easier. It can be frustrating because he is so likeable as a character, but does such shitty things to Cal, hurting him again and again.  

Season two takes place two years later. It follows the same backwards narrative in the beginning. Showing the day after they have a threesome, then showing the events that led up to it.

Another intriguing thing that makes Eastsiders so interesting to watch is the real time scales it takes place in. It allows the audience to see into their relationship two years later, solving unanswered questions. As well as bringing in a realistic element as you get to see a real development in the characters.

Season three drifts away from that narrative. There is a lot more focus on the cinematography, which is incredible. The guys buy a blue trailer and have a road trip across the states from New York back to Silverlake L.A where the show started.

Credit: Out.com

There are so many breathtakingly beautiful long shots that really work with the spaces they film in. They’re relationship still has troubles but there are a few touching scenes that prove they really do love and care about each other.  

The whole series is a really gritty, realistic portrayal of a relationship. The ups and downs, the sex and intimacy, silly arguments and most importantly always coming back together.

I am so excited yet nervous to see what season four – the final season has in store for Thom and Cal. Season four premiers at the Toronto Film Festival on May 25.  

Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Film and comment editor at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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