By David-Elijah Nahmod, May 2016 Web Exclusive.
Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt aren’t a couple, but they play one on TV. Close friends and writing partners, they co-star in the new Super Deluxe web series “Disengaged,” which raises the question: now that we can marry, should we?
The first five episodes of Season 1 were released in late 2015 and episodes 6 through 10 are scheduled to be released April 24 on Super Deluxe.
“We wanted to tell a story about co-dependency,” Tullock, a self-described out, proud lesbian, told Echo. “We found ourselves in relationships that we were deeply rooted in and couldn’t escape from. That became the perfect springboard for a story not only about gay marriage, but about modern relationships and how the vocabulary for them is shifting and evolving.”
Tullock is a comedian, a writer, a voice actor and a musician who’s been seen as a “sardonic soccer mom” in national ads for Twixt, Wal-Mart and and Toyota. Utt is an actress with a number of independent films to her credit. The women are partners in Dodge and Demure, a production company in which they collaborate on projects to showcase themselves as actors and writers.
Utt, who has a boyfriend, calls herself “a proud ally,” and said she is “passionate” about LGBTQ rights.
“I’m passionate about all human rights. It was sad to see that my friends did not have the same rights as me,” Utt said. “[Marriage] is a basic human rights issue – I’m baffled that the prejudices exist.”
“Disengaged” follows the humorously mad adventures of Sydney (Tullock) and Jules (Utt), a lesbian couple who are feeling the pressure to get married in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Marriage may not be right for them, but they proceed anyway.
“[Sydney and Jules] are reassessing [our] thoughts about marriage,” Utt added. “A lot of our friends are getting married and divorced.”
The series makes its point through neurotic humor akin to Woody Allen – in the second episode, Sydney and Jules’ wedding planner has a meltdown in front of them.
“Humor is how Jen and I deal with everything,” Utt pointed out. “We don’t know how to communicate without humor.”
The show’s stars assured Echo that they are not against same-sex marriage.
“Just because you can get married doesn’t mean you should,” Tullock pointed out. “There’s a lot of sociopolitical pressure to get married – I saw and experienced the pressure to get married. The humor in ‘Disengaged’ is how these women decide to be the torchbearers for an institution that’s not right for them. We want to satirize the narcissism that’s rampant in our generation.”
“It’s wonderful that we now have the right to decide for ourselves,” Tullock said. “As a young, queer person, I’m not blind to how hard people before me fought. I’m grateful for the work they did.”
Both women acknowledge that the legal protections that come with marriage are important, but agree that tying the knot may not be right for everyone.
“I don’t mean for the show to sound anti-marriage,” Tullock said. “It’s more about the ritual of the marriage machine. These are things that can’t be described as funny or sad. They exist in that middle ground. Our relationships are filled with joy and pain.”
To watch the first five episodes of “Disengaged,” visit disengagedshow.com.