There are lots of TV shows that revolve around friendships between two people. These shows typically show the great camaraderie between two friends – intimacy, confessions, cheap humor, love talks, crass talks – you name it, these shows successfully show it. However, have we ever seen a show in which both/all friends are deaf? To take things a little further, how about one of those two deaf friends is also gay?
What we have seen for decades in mainstream film and television always involves able bodied people going through the course of their lives. People with disabilities do make appearances, but their disabilities are always an integral part of their role – they are in the film because of their disability, and not because of their personality or some sort of quirk they may have that can contribute to the storyline.
Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, who are deaf actors, plan to change just that. They want to encourage people involved in film and television to cast deaf people as fully realized characters, and to create storylines that focus on their daily lives, rather than on their disability. To get things started, Stern and Feldman shot a pilot of a show called “Fridays” – a story about two deaf friends. Stern plays Kate who is newly married, and Feldman plays Michael, who is gay and newly single. Both characters communicate in sign language.
The pilot depicts their intimate friendship, and glorifies the emotional connection they both share. The dialog they exchange is humorous, crass, and serious, all at the same time, and as a viewer, you cannot fail to notice how different, yet similar, Kate and Michael are as they both deal with their own personal struggles. Just like anyone else, they like to use pizza and alcohol as effective mechanisms to drown their sorrows and talk about life. Their casual banter makes them more and more lovable, and as the pilot progresses, you realize that them being deaf is not a part of this show. At all.
Stern and Feldman self funded the pilot of the show, which is 12 minutes long, and now they are raising money to shoot the entire first season which will consist of four episodes. Only five days in, they have already raised almost 90% of the $6,000 they plan to raise, and they have 25 more days to go. They more money they raise in the next 25 days, the more episodes they will add to the first season!
Curious about the show? Watch the pilot here.
Go here to read more about their Kickstarter campaign.