Review: Anyone But Me

Rachael Hip-Flores and Nicole Pacent in Anyone But Me

Anyone But Me is a web series, available on Amazon Video, YouTube, at anyonebutmeseries.com, and Hulu. There have been 3 seasons so far. It’s about two 16 year old high school girls who fall in love. They live in New York City. One of them is forced to move to the suburbs of Westchester because of her father’s injuries received as a first responder during 9/11.

Rachael Hip-Flores and Nicole Pacent in Anyone But Me
We are young and in love. What could go wrong?

Even though they are only 30 minutes apart by train, the girls feel further and further apart. Vivian makes new friends in the new school. Yet they soon have the train schedule memorized.

This series about first love and self discovery is directed by Tina Cesa Ward and mostly written by Ward and Susan Miller.

The only name I recognized out of the large cast was Liza Weil from How to Get Away with Murder, who played a counselor. The rest of the cast in this low budget indie were unknown to me. They all did convincing work. The best among them was Nicole Pacent as Aster. Nicole Pacent is a natural.

Anyone But Me circles around Vivian (Rachael Hip-Flores), the teen who had to move with her dad (Dan Via). Aster is her girlfriend. Vivian and Aster were devastated, as only teens can be, by their separation. They managed the train ride and had plenty of time together, but it wasn’t quite the same.

Vivian and her dad moved in with her dad’s former sister-in-law Jodie (Barbara Pitts). Vivian spent summers there with her Aunt Jodie and knew people. Her former playmate Sophie (Jessy Hodges) still lived next door. When they were younger, Vivian and Sophie shared everything. (Except Vivian wouldn’t share her Willow underwear from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Jessy Hodges in Anyone But Me
I saw you kissing a girl

These days Sophie is smooching with a quarterback named Jonathan (Mitchell S. Adams) but refuses to have sex with him. Sophie is super interested in whether or not Vivian has a relationship. You think you can see where this is going, but perhaps not.

Rachael Hip-Flores and Joshua Holland in Anyone But Me
It’s only cartoons with no words.
I see words.

The first friend Vivian makes is Archibald (Joshua Holland). He’s an artist. She’s a writer. They click. Archibald guesses quickly that Vivian is gay. Archibald has it bad for an aspiring actress named Elisabeth (Alexis Slade), who becomes Vivian’s friend as well.

Vivian is very shy about coming out to the people in Westchester. Archibald guesses, and Sophie sees Vivian kissing Aster on the street. When Vivian finally tells her Aunt Jodie, it’s agony getting it out.

Aster is not happy that Vivian won’t claim her as her girlfriend to her new friends. It causes tension. When Vivian and Archibald decide to write a comic series together for the school newspaper, she finally decides she has to come out as the lesbian chick in the comics. It hurts Aster that Vivian didn’t do it for her.

Vivian and Aster have their share of misunderstandings, arguments, growth periods, and make up sex. Both of them grow up a great deal in the space of the three seasons, which all happen during Sophomore and Junior year of high school. I don’t know if more episodes are in the works, but the story has room to grow. For example, Vivian gets a letter from her mother near the end of the 3rd season. After years of silence from her mother it could lead to much more story. The series began in 2008 and has released new episodes over a period of several years. I don’t know how long we can keep believing the main actors are high school kids – that might be a damper on further episodes.

The episodes of Anyone But Me are varying lengths. There are 36 episodes in all, with some bonus clips of lost scenes and actor commentary. Even so, you can watch the whole series in just a few hours.

If you have younger teen girls in the house who might be questioning, this could be a good series for them. There’s a ton of kissing but no sex scenes. Any grownup who appreciates positive looks at young lesbians in love will enjoy it too.

It’s a well written series with interesting subplots, strong dialog, and good character development.

 

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