Jenny Paul, alumna of the no-longer-existent NYU Collaborative Arts Project 21 musical theater training program, is the star and co-creator of new web series, “That Reminds Me.” The series, only seven episodes long, launched on Oct. 6 live from the Wix Lounge in Chelsea.
“That Reminds Me” aims to bring together baby-boomers and millennials with a web series they can both enjoy, employing similar comedic styles of shows like “Modern Family” and “Arrested Development.” Jenny Paul plays lead Janie, the somewhat wiser older sister. Two more of the show’s producers join the main cast as well, with Chelsea Roach as Kelsey, the oddball younger sibling, and Monica Cangero as Elaine, their recently widowed mother.
The green core cast is supplemented with more experienced actors as well. Greg Mullavey — “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” leading man, joins this quirky family as Grandpa Kelsey. Greg Carter, a New York theater veteran plays Carter and Steven Hauck, an actor of stage and screen, plays Martin.
Over the course of the first 10 minute episode, we are introduced to each of the leading ladies as they talk over the breakfast table. They discuss their contrived problems with intense intimacy: Kelsey recaps her adventures as a cat walker before breaking into her story of how she drunkenly declared her love for her boss’s butt and lost her job. The writing style of the episode is not far from a diary, albeit a family-shared diary, which is reflected in the fastidious and personal dialogue. When viewed in the context of a web series, the stylistic choices make more sense. The actors execute lines with rapid-fire delivery, and storylines are developed in a rush — miss a single line and you could be awfully confused for the next episode. Perhaps too much weight is placed in trivial moments, which makes the series difficult to follow.
Despite the show’s poorly distributed plot line, the show was not without shining moments. Right from the start, the girls sing a gender equality song. Later, during Elaine’s speed-dating flashback, she gives a long winded speech about the exact moment she will know that she has found the one.
Perhaps it is the web series format that truly proves the talent of the cast of “That Reminds Me.” Any nine minute episode on a still-developing formant really needs to have a solid crew and plot in order to generate a returning audience — and believe me, I will be tuning back in to find out more about this wild family.
At the premiere event, the audience got a sneak peek of the series pilot before it went live online as well as a preview of the Thanksgiving episode. The preview depicted an unorthodox Thanksgiving Day meal, one without turkey and, as expected, an odd lineup of family members. The clip, running less than a minute, allowed us to be roped into the rest of the characters without giving away too much of the series’ plotlines.
The next installment of “That Reminds Me” goes live at 9 p.m. on Oct. 20.
A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 13 print edition. Email Allison Stubblebine at [email protected]