Telling people you're an "artist" living in a cool, formerly industrial urban neighborhood used to give you the type of clout the rest of the world would simultaneously scoff at and secretly admire. But nowadays, every other bearded dude with an arm full of geometric tattoos is a part-time-graphic-designer-part-time-DJ living in an abandoned train station-turned-luxury loft in a part of town that was technically in a state of emergency until 2005. Creatives are the new standard in the workforce and a new web series, All Over It, is putting a satirical spin on right brain culture.
Centered on an under-motivated group of Philly-based artists, The Batatat Collective (peep their Tumblr HERE), All Over It features a gaggle of wannabe artists, jaded musicians, and people who are cool with just hanging out and staying exactly where they are. We spoke with the show's directors, Melissa Silverman and Ted Pauly, to get the jist of the series as well as two of its biggest guest stars, Ben Sinclair (High Maintenance) and H. Jon Benjamin (Bob's Burgers), to hear more about their upcoming appearances. Melissa Silverman & Ted Pauly How did the idea for the series come about?
Although neither of us have had to live with co-workers or work with our 'co-livers,' it's certainly the kind of thing we imagined a lot in our twenties with roommates -- "Hey, we all play guitar -- what if we wrote jingles for three guitars? Where's that drum machine?...Does anybody know anyone who needs a jingle?" or "Great idea, let's start a kids' birthday and bar mitzvah party planning/videography/who can say what else business." We had troves of ideas marked by boundless optimism and very little follow through. We both work in commercials now and struggle with the idea of creativity by committee and selling out on a semi-regular basis.
Who can we expect to see in All Over It?
Chris O'Brien is Mike, the de facto "leader" and writer; Nadia Quinn is Shannon, the group's optimist and musical mascot; Kate Dearing is Elyse, Mike's ex, equal parts ingenue/serious filmmaker; Alex Malaos is Hans, the dour English van-wrap designer; Jim Santangeli is Darren, Elyse's boyfriend and a fly-by-night entrepreneur; Ben Sinclair is Finn, a local scenester/hanger-on/guru; and H. Jon Benjamin is Landlord, their landlord. He crashes their parties and may or may not be involved in a "pipe-napping."
What's the vibe of this show?
It's a comedy that is equal parts existential and persnickety. Somewhere between Friends, Party Down, and The Young Ones. We think the ensemble cast is a force.
What is All Over It trying to say about America's young creatives?
It feels like for artists/creative people the idea of "selling out" being a negative is fading away. The Batatat Collective, some of whom are in their late 20s/early 30s are, in fits and starts, aging out of their idealistic phase into their "I'm too old for this shit" phase. We encounter them somewhere in the middle, in their desperate hustler phase. The group dynamic is, by turns, toxic and sweet.
Let's talk about your character.
I play Finn, a kind of odd artist-type who seems to know the lay of the land of the Philly art scene. He says some pretty out-there shit, but he says it confidently so it makes you wonder if you're the weird one. He starts collaborating musically with Shannon from the Batatat Collective and he makes some weird shit with her that's met with mixed results later on.
What's the dynamic of The Batatat Collective?
To be honest, these people seem pretty bitchy with one another. Everyone seems to only be interested in their own art, and this guy Mike seems to be rallying them all do something that none of them really want to do. My character is kind of the outsider , and my understanding when I came on was that he was just a guest star on the pilot.
How does All Over It compare to High Maintenance?
All Over It might slightly share a similar look to some episodes of High Maintenance because I met one of our favorite DPs [Director of Photography], Charlie Gruet, on the set of All Over It. I also met a couple of actors on that set that we've used in some episodes of HM as well. But All Over It is more of a long narrative arc told in short installments (because it was originally shot as a 22 minute pilot), whereas High Maintenance is self-contained short stories.
H. Jon Benjamin
Who do you play?
My role is 'Landlord' unless it is 'Len Lord' -- I'm not quite sure -- but my profession in the show is a landlord, but that does not preclude the possibility that his name is Len lord, the landlord.
Are you handy? Could you fix the heat in my apartment?
In the real world, I am not very handy. I could rewire your lamp, but couldn't fix your heat. Or are you just asking me over?
It's kinda both.
The show premieres HERE on February 2nd and they're rolling out 9 episodes throughout the rest of the month. Watch the trailer, above.