Less than a minute into the pilot episode of The Benefits of Gusbandry, a partygoer inhales cocaine through a metal straw off the unconscious lead character’s chest. If nothing else, it sets the tone for the web series, which follows a straight woman and a gay man as they reconcile their arrested development with their middle age. The series is directed and co-written by Alicia J. Rose, a Portland, Oregon-based director who’s made music videos for the likes of First Aid Kit and Bob Mould. Erika M. Anderson (whose initials may seem familiar, since she performs as Flavorwire favorite EMA) is producing original music for the series, as well as serving as its music supervisor. The first episode screened at the Portland Film Festival recently, and we’re delighted to premiere it here.
Rose says the title and series were inspired by real-life relationships with her own “Gusbands” (a portmanteau of “gay and “husband”). The Benefits of Gusbandry follows Jackie (played by Brooke Totman of MADtv and The Groundlings), a youthful 40-year-old straight woman, as she meets and befriends River (played by Kurt Conroyd), a gay man who makes out with Jackie’s ex-boyfriend. Their scene together in the pilot is charming, filled with disarmingly witty, flirtatious banter, an indication of future sass and shade to be thrown.
Anderson’s music selections are a highlight; the party that provides the setting for the pilot episode is tracked with fuzzy guitars, driving bass and oh ohh oh oooooowwww vocals of Summer Cannibals’ “Something New,” as well as other new music from Sutro, and Bed. Princess Superstar’s 2005 jam “I Like It a Lot,” also makes an appearance, as well as some original music scored by Anderson. The party’s soundtrack, devoid of trite pop records that everyone knows the words to, seems like a playlist you’d catch yourself Shazam-ing at random moments throughout the night.
The first season of The Benefits of Gusbandry is comprised of eight episodes (each around 10 minutes long) to be released monthly via the series’ YouTube and Vimeo channels through Spring 2016. For more about the series, head to thebenefitsofgusbandry.com, or check out the Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram pages.