By Jeff Siniawsky
A group of friends hangs out at a coffee shop. Sounds like “Friends”, or at least what I know of Friends. I only saw one episode of that show. It was while I was on an airplane, and I was entirely unimpressed. I did watch all 9 released episodes of J. Clement Wall’s and Dillon Wall’s You Are Here, though, and I’m glad I did.
You Are Here is set against the backdrop of Panama Red’s, a coffee shop owned by Felix (Alex Hero). Felix has announced that the coffee shop will be closing. Now, as the show takes place in, or actually at the sidewalk tables outside the coffee shop, to get in the mood to write this review, I’ve been drinking copious amounts of iced Cuban coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. I’m beginning to feel completely hyperactive and incoherent from all of the caffeine and sugar, so bear with me. We’ll get through this.
The imminent closing of the coffee shop bring us the stories of Marcus (Brandon Rogers), Rodeogirl (Tabbitha McBride), Toby (Gary Neil), Felix, and Kate (Riley Krull) and Eric (Dillon Wall). Rodeogirl is a struggling, but still narcissistic, actress with a nemesis; Toby has HPV and has gone celibate to avoid transmitting the virus to any women; Marcus, who will lose his job as a result of the shop closing, has decided to go on a journey into the wild despite being utterly unequipped for the challenge; and Eric and Kate are figuring out their relationship. All of the stories are presented in a conversational manner; with well though out, cleverly written and funny dialogue. I think Dillon Wall watched a lot more of Seinfeld than he did Friends, and that’s a good thing. The banter of You Are Here has more of a Seinfeld feel, even to the point of conversations about nothing (the cologne salesman is a great example). While a comedy, episode 4 takes a poignant and more dramatic turn as Eric and Kate each ruminate about their dreams as they come to grips with unexpected news. While episode 4 was more serious, the dialogue remained witty and sharp and entirely in keeping with the tone of the other more comedy driven episodes.
One of the things I love about web shows is the introduction to talented people whose work we might not otherwise see. Produced by a group of unknowns, You Are Here is well written and well acted. It’s a really good show, one which exemplifies that which I like about indie productions by boiling down its elements to a raw expression of talent. Without big names, big budgets or explosions and effects, You Are Here tells a funny and well acted story with relatable characters. Check out You Are Here at PickledAmygdala on YouTube.