Just as one can’t judge a book by its cover, don’t be misled by the title of a web series. Case in point – Nasty Habits. I wasn’t sure whether this would be a comedy or a thriller, most probably involving nuns. As it turns out, my assumptions as to the genre of Nasty Habits were totally mistaken. I was pleasantly surprised to find a captivating dramatic anthology.
Christina De Leon, Katie Harper, and Grant Harvey have pooled their talents to create this fine series. The titular Nasty Habits are only a device used in each episode to engage two people in intense dialogues. As stated on their website, each episode lasts only as long as it takes to smoke a cigarette. The writing and direction make the most of these few minutes by giving us a clear sense of the characters and their distinct personalities.
Adult sisters (Hope Lauren and Charissa Hogeland) sneak away from a holiday party to share cigarettes and secrets in their parents’ backyard in “A Couple of Fuck-Ups”. “Wasted Heart” has best friends, and former lovers, (Kelly Studnicki and Julian De La Celle) getting high and debating the value of the girl who just dumped him. A homeless man and a businessman (Jim August and Mark Collier) bond over coffee and reminiscences of their fathers in “Loose Change“. Tensions run high as bride and bridesmaid (Zoe Kanters and Claudia Doumit) confront troublesome issues in their relationship while having a last smoke before the wedding ceremony in “Something Blue”.
Each episode is a distinct stand-alone, and all pack an emotional punch. With fine production quality and excellent casting, it’s easy to see why Nasty Habits is garnering attention as an official selection (and winner!) in webfests around the world. Watch Nasty Habits on the show’s website, where you can also learn more about the cast and crew.
By Susan Siniawsky