INTERVIEW: Avocado Toast the Series, a New Sex Comedy Web Show for Millennials
As millennials, we are often boxed into very specific generational stereotypes. In Avocado Toast the series, Perrie Voss and Heidi Lynch hopes to give the viewers a more complex representation on the lives of two women growing into their relationships, sexuality and experiences. The series premieres on Amazon Prime on May 18th– learn more about the show and creators below!
Hi Perrie and Heidi, thank you for answering our questions today. Please tell us about Avocado Toast the series– what is the show about and what inspired the title itself?
Heidi Lynch: The show is about female friendship and mother/daughter relationships. We explore bisexual millennial coming out stories and coming to terms with watching baby boomer parents fall in love again. That article about millennials, mortgages and avocado toast. We wanted something symbolic for causing a wedge between our millennial and baby boomer characters.
Perrie Voss: We wanted to write a show around what we were both experiencing at very pivotal moments in our lives. We realized that both of our stories involved having come to huge personal realizations later in life than what is expected within our societal norms (coming out and parents divorcing) and the discussions that happen around that with our parents. We are millennials and our parents are baby boomers and those two generations can seem so vastly different, but they’re also so similar– and we’re always growing, no matter what stage we are at. Avocado Toast became a prevalent thematic symbol for that. Then the Globe and Mail article with the opinion that millennials not being able to buy houses because they’re spending their money on Avocado Toast hit us right in the middle of that thinking. There’s a misunderstanding between the generations and we took that symbol and ran with it!
The series explores relationships between friends as well as the relationship between daughters and their parents. Are these topics that are personal to you? What made you want to explore them through Molly and Elle?
Heidi: Absolutely. Female friendships need massive exploration. I want to create representation for the complexities of female friendships and also content that passes the Bechdel test. I find mother daughter relationships fascinating and specifically how hard it can be sometimes for mothers to see their daughters as full grown people and also how daughters forget their mothers have huge lives outside of them.
Perrie: Exactly. They’re very personal. We wrote from what we knew and were experiencing at the time. We’ve since changed some plot lines or expanded on them. But the thought and feelings behind it were and are very real. We also both needed to see these stories when we were in the middle of these tumultuous times. I would have loved to feel less alone. I would have loved for someone to say ‘I see you, and what you’re feeling is ok’. When Heidi and I met we formed a really deep friendship very quickly and that was so healing for us. We listened to each other without judgement and laughed a lot. Laughter can be so medicinal so although there are some hard moments we also found the ridiculous hilarity in the situations. We wrote the show that we needed, and still need.
In the show, Molly figures out that she is bisexual later on in life. Do you feel many can relate to what she is going through and her journey with her sexuality? Do you hope people can relate to her situation, since bisexual representation on screen is rarely explored deeply?
Heidi: I think bisexual people will definitely relate and I think people from many walks of life can relate to feeling like they don’t fit into any certain box. I hope if people can relate that they feel seen and I hope that people who can’t relate just absorb and enjoy it and reach out to people in their lives that are in that situation.
Perrie: Yes and that’s exactly why we wrote it! People are constantly growing and evolving. But there tends to be less representation around growth later in life. As if we need to get all of our self-discovery out of the way by the time we’re 25. I am still figuring out who I am, and how much has changed and continues to change in my life. But so often those stories are not told, or not told in a way that I can relate to. It’s puberty and then a mid-life crisis. I think there is a lot of growth that happens in and around those times, and for those of us who discover more about ourselves and our sexuality later than we expected to and how to place those feelings would hope this show can be a beacon for understanding and support.
What was it like working with the rest of the cast? Did they bring their own vision to their own characters?
Heidi: INCREDIBLE. VISION FOR DAYS. I LOVE HEIDI LYNCH. [Laughs] I will speak about the rest of the cast. Our team of actors have rallied around us for years. Mag Ruffman, Jefferson Mappin, Scott Cavalheiro, Kristian Bruun and Faye Marsay have been connected and committed to our show for a long time. They all went above and beyond to realize our script. We wrote the parts for them and they brought just enough and even more to their roles.
Perrie: We had an incredibly talented cast around us. Some of the people we knew and had worked with before and often had them in mind from the beginning of our writing. Across the board we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to literally have our dream cast for every single person. People like Mag Ruffman, Kristian Bruun, Faye Marsay, Scott Cavalheiro made time for us in their incredibly busy work schedules to come play with us. Their love, dedication, creativity and belief in our project brought everything we wrote to a whole new level. One of my favourite surprises was Alexander Nunez who plays Jordan, who we had never met before– we had originally written him as a somewhat silent character. But after his first day on set with us he had brought such a great energy and improvising lines that made us fall down laughing. We immediately called his agent and said we need to have more of him, and we created more moments in scenes for him to shine! He’s absolutely hilarious and so freaking talented! I’m so excited for everyone to meet Jordan!
How do you hope the audience, especially millennial women, will respond to the show?
Heidi: I hope they laugh. I hope they get lost in the story and that it hits them after how female centric this show truly is. I hope millennial women who watch the show look at their moms differently after they watch Avocado Toast the series.
Perrie: I hope that our viewers feel seen. Both of our storylines are ones that I haven’t seen before in full, or realistically. Sexuality and divorce have been talked about or mentioned in shows I’ve seen, but the actual experience of going through and discovering those things can be extremely painful and ultimately life changing. Millennials have a strange moment in time right now because a lot of us are still stuck between two worlds of full adulthood and coming into our own because the world changed so quickly with technology and economically while we were in our teens and into our 20s. So a lot of us are still figuring things out and how to ‘adult’ in a world that is still largely being run by baby boomers. Both of us would have needed this show when we were in the trenches of these experiences and I’m hoping that our viewers feel like we’re connecting with them through telling this truth. But we also really want to make people laugh. We do ridiculous things when we’re in pain and we show that. We hope you laugh too.
What was it like creating a show with episodes that are only 15 minutes long? What was your biggest challenge and what did it teach you that you would like to share with other creators?
Heidi: As a first time writer of something of this magnitude I learned that for film/ tv you don’t need to write everything. Three pages can get cut with one shot that establishes what you are trying to communicate and nine times out of 10, the shot will tell the story better and more interestingly than some explanation. Think visually when you’re writing.
Perrie: It’s interesting because when we set out to write this, we were thinking small. Most web series are 10 minutes or less. But as we fleshed out story lines we realized we were doing a disservice to our full vision by making the episodes shorter. But we also weren’t trying to write a half hour show (which some drafts got up to), and would absolutely be wonderful to have that amount of time one day but we had to find the most concise, yet fully realized way to tell these complex story lines. Writing in short format for anything is often more challenging because you have to say what you want to say perfectly as you can, whether that’s through image or actual dialogue. I think it’s a great exercise actually. Weed through the mud and get to the actual heart of the story. It was a huge challenge. But I think we found the core of it.
For our most important question, if you could pick one super power, which one will it be and will you use it for good or evil?
Heidi: Good obviously. Well, my definition of good. Omnilingualism would be incredible. But with the current American president who shall remain nameless, I would have to say mind control. He needs to be stopped.
Perrie: Ha! I would want to be a shapeshifter. I immediately would want it just for me and my own selfish reasons so I could transform into birds, horses, dogs, a dolphin! But come on, eventually I would be very sneaky. There’s no way I could help myself So I guess spying on people is kind of evil, and could definitely lead to stirring a lot of pots. But hey! Maybe I could save someone with that too. Both. We’re all both.