Anyone But Me
|Anyone But Me|
|Directed by||Tina Cesa Ward|
Mitchell S. Adams
|Ending theme||Noah Figlin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||20+|
|Executive producer(s)||Susan Miller
Tina Cesa Ward
|Editor(s)||Tina Cesa Ward|
|Camera setup||Ava Berkofsky|
|Running time||Varies (usually 6–15 minutes)|
|Original run||2008 – present|
Anyone But Me is a live-action, web television drama that first aired in 2008. The show is in serial short-format webisodes, each lasting between six and fifteen minutes, following the lives of a group of teenagers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.
Anyone But Me was developed by Tina Cesa Ward and playwright Susan Miller from Ward's original work. Anyone But Me's initial launch and distribution was on Strike.TV. Subsequently it has been offered on its own website and other online video providers such as YouTube and Hulu.
The series centers around the experiences of Vivian McMillan (Rachael Hip-Flores), a sixteen-year-old lesbian whose father's illness prompts the two of them to move from Manhattan to the home of Vivian's maternal aunt in Westchester, about 30 minutes away. Vivian attempts to maintain her relationship with her girlfriend Aster Gaston (Nicole Pacent) while enrolling in a new school, negotiating old childhood connections, and establishing a new social circle in what she perceives to be a substantially different environment from her previous home in the city.
As the series begins, Vivian has been living as an openly gay high-school student whose romance with Aster appears well-known to those around her. When she arrives at her new suburban home and school, she declines to reveal her sexuality or relationship to her aunt, to a local schoolmate she has known since childhood, or to most of her peers. In public, she also frequently minimizes Aster's role in her life to avoid exposure of the sexual nature of their relationship. This sets up a number of conflicts as well as a dialogue in Episode 8 of Season 1 on whether or not gay pride is an essential element of an intimate gay relationship.
Vivian's anxiety about publicizing her sexuality in Westchester is driven by her belief that her family and friends living there would not be as tolerant or accepting as she found them to be in Manhattan. The one person who quickly discovers Vivian's secret is Archibald (Joshua Holland), an African-American student at her school. In Episode 3 of Season 1, Vivian and Archibald discuss their common feeling that a largely white, traditional community would never fully embrace them because of their minority status. This perception is challenged by other characters, including Vivian's childhood friend Sophie (Jessy Hodges), who upon learning the truth is less upset that Vivian is gay and more offended that Vivian assumed she would be intolerant.
Lingering effects of 9/11
The show's creators bill the story as a search "for love and belonging in the post-9/11 age". Vivian's father Gabe (Dan Via) is a former New York City firefighter who suffers from respiratory problems appearing to arise from his work at Ground Zero, prompting his move with his daughter out of the city center. In Episode 3 of Season 1, Vivian's father describes the move away from New York City as intended to allow Vivian to experience her adolescence without having to constantly deal with the consequences the attacks have had on their lives.
Adversity in parenting
Vivian's mother left the family when Vivian was a young child. Since the onset of her father's illness, some aspects of their parent-child relationship have become reversed, with Vivian seen scolding him for failing to call upon her immediately when he has difficulty. Vivian's maternal aunt Jodie (Barbara Pitts), who is childless, attempts with great awkwardness to take on the role of motherhood. Aster's parents are continually absent from and uninterested in her life; friends her own age, along with Vivian, assume responsibility for motivating her to regularly attend school. Archibald, who feels uncomfortable in the student community, spends time in the office of a school administrator. The administrator pushes Archibald to become involved with teams and clubs, but his encouragement appears primarily motivated by his desire to have a student spy for him on others who may be misbehaving.
Interest in the series has been heaviest amongst LGBT media, with generally positive reviews from outlets such as Curve and GO magazines. The mainstream audience New York Observer's Gillian Reagan described Anyone But Me as a show that "succeeds in showing us the potential of the [web-original] medium."