The raw, risky, brilliant, inventive, comic genius Ingrid Jungermann is back with Season 2 of her hit web series F to 7th, a comedy about her descent (ascent?) into pre-middle age. Judgmental as ever, Jungermann—the writer/director/star—struggles to find herself in a world where changing views of sexuality and gender have left behind her sort of old-fashioned lesbianism.
The first season of F To 7th (named after the auteur’s Park Slope, Brooklyn, train stop) received great critical acclaim, with Indiewire praising it as one of 2013’s best comedy web series, The Guardian declaring it “the best of a new wave of shows exploring contemporary lesbian life in the U.S.” and BUST cited the series as one of five “hilarious web series created by women.” Jungermann was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s “25 Faces of Independent Film” in 2012 and was featured among OUT magazine’s annual OUT100 in 2012.
The first episode of Season 1 began in a dog-walking park’s “off-leash hours,” with Jungermann standing self-consciously between two men and having a strangely halting conversation with them. Her self-consciousness is perhaps emblematic of the non-existence of lesbians, especially butchy lesbians, in the film industry. All of Season 1 is characterized by a self-consciousness, except for one outrageous moment when the character played by Ashlie Atkinson suddenly, violently and totally unself-consciously latches onto a chain-link fence at a women’s softball game while shouting at the top of her lungs. It’s hilarious.
Season 2 plumbs deeper psychological depths. Jungermann writes,
The humor in this season is a bit more wicked than the last. It explores how fragile your self-worth is when it comes to family, and how easy it is to regress into the child you used to be. I believe the best comedy comes from exposing your darkest secrets and inviting an audience to laugh along with you. I’ve also experimented with more of a through-line and character arc so that while the episodes are still stand-alone, there is an element of continuation into the next moment.
It’s hard to pick my favorite episode so far in Season 2; each is a six-minute gem of superb acting, writing and directing. Episode 1 sets the story line: Ingrid reluctantly considers whether to satisfy her Jehovah’s Witness mother’s wish that she should find a man and be straight. Playing the mother, Annette O’Toole wrings every bit of humor and familial discomfort from the role (why don’t we see her on screen more often?). More standout acting can be found in Episode 4, with Bruce Altman as Ingrid’s hippie father and Kristen Connolly as his doting, super-womanly girlfriend.
Listen up, Hollywood: Ingrid Jungermann deserves her own TV show. She’s a star. At the very least, she should be showered with riches to continue making these extraordinary six-minute films.
Future episodes of the season guest-star Olympia Dukakis and Janeane Garofalo. Look for a new episode each Monday and Thursday on YouTube, through May 29.
Poet Mary Meriam is the founder of Lavender Review, cofounder of Headmistress Press and author of The Countess of Flatbroke, The Poet’s Zodiac and Conjuring my Leafy Muse.