Slacktory is known for its expertly edited supercuts and pop-culture mashups, but they’ve slowly been dipping a toe in original programming. Apt 8 News was their first attempt at an abbreviated sitcom. Now comes Tough Love.
The second season of the original webseries debuted on Tuesday, and chronicles the lives of two best friends and roommates (Blaire Wendel and Steven Bell) living in Queens and trying to make it as actors. In the first episode, Wendel and Bell face some hard truths about their life, which includes unattended Netflix queues and organizing email inboxes. This truthbomb is delivered by their reclusive gamer roommate.
Back in December, Slacktory’s Nick Douglas discussed Apt 8 News, and their desire to create original programming beyond supercuts:
“Our supercuts and remixes already get millions of views by providing smart yet goofy commentary on pop culture. Now I want Slacktory to be just as well-known for our original comedy. I’m hunting for more shows like Apt 8 News, as well as one-off sketches and character portraits, that are just as compelling as our remixes.”
In its second season, Tough Love has some parallels to Comedy Central’s Broad City, in that the two main characters’ friendship seems genuine, and the awkward moments feel relatable. Having someone question your sexuality at a weird party? Check. Getting caught stealing booze from that same weird party? Ditto. The storylines also tie into New York City and its boroughs, mirroring the geographical comedy of the new original webseries Only in Hell LA.
It’s certainly Slacktory’s most ambitious effort yet. The first season was shot mostly in one location—an apartment—but season two expanded its storylines, cast, and locales. Back in December, Douglas related his vision for the site, in terms of original programming:
“I want Slacktory to be the place where future Internet celebrities did their gritty early work, honed their talent, and took one step closer to building their own loyal audiences.”
Via email, Douglas explained his vision for Tough Love.
I hope Tough Love will appeal to adult comedy fans. We tried to tell a sitcom-level story in each episode, in under a third of the runtime. We also hoped to tell a story about being gay in New York that built on the groundwork that previous shows have laid—shows that made it possible to have a show with gay stars that isn’t ‘that show about gay people.’ A lot of the show is based on Steven and Blaire’s real experiences.
Our major challenge is getting people to take a first chance on the show. Like many good sitcoms, we don’t have a catchy ‘hook’—if there’s a single premise, it’s that most of us hip cool New Yorkers are just self-conscious schlubs trying to make it. Throughout the series, we see nearly every character break down and misstep. We see that the people who are supposed to have life figured out are faking it just like the rest of us. I hope that with that, we’ve captured a sliver of what draws people to smart, grounded comedies like ‘Girls.'”