Love can be a very funny thing – both in hilarious and strange ways. Yet, no matter what ups and downs romance, sex and relationships often provide, it’s always good to have friends who’ll get you through the unpredictability of it all. The comedy web series SPIN THE BOTTLE, created, written by and starring Matthew Barnard, follows four friends who try to help each other navigate the often rocky course of love – with some extra assistance from their favorite adult beverages.

SPIN THE BOTTLE premiered in June of 2011, and returns for its third season on September 23rd via various platforms, including its official web site, plus its Youtube, Funny Or Die and Web Series Channel platforms. SPIN THE BOTTLE stars Barnard as Roy, an openly gay man who’s dedicated to his family, his job as the owner of a new wine bar, and especially his love for his boyfriend Perry (Matt Palazzolo), who by day works toward his dream of becoming an executive chef, but by night (and unbeknownst to Roy), he struts his stuff as a male stripper.

The ensemble cast also includes Yves Bright as ex-soccer player Bobby. Once married to a beautiful model, he now finds himself struggling to come to terms with his former wife’s infidelity, and the consequences of her behavior.

Among those who try to help him cope are his niece Kylie (Raychel Espiritu), and his close friend, Chad (Josh Martin), whose reputation as a ladies’ man precedes him. Rounding out the cast is Emma Pyne as Leeza, a ‘man-eater’ whose encounters with various hotties fill the pages of an advice column she writes for a small magazine – but she just hasn’t found ‘the one’ for her quite yet.

Barnard’s inspiration to create SPIN THE BOTTLE came from a variety of sources, all of which provided the basis for the development of his series. “The first stone laid occurred when a friend and I were talking about closeness to our siblings.  I have always felt estranged from my sister so my friend challenged me to write something about a brother and sister who were super close, but called each other out on their choices and decisions. Those two characters became Roy and his sister Olivia in Season 1,” he says. “The second stone was laid about three years ago when people were pondering about when David Beckham would retire and what he would do when that day came. It got me thinking about professional athletes and their decisions about what to do when they hang it up. That character became Bobby and his journey began.”

As Barnard explains, another major breakthrough came from a popular TV sitcom’s portrayal of gay relationships. “The third stone was laid when shows like MODERN FAMILY started prominently showing gay couples in a realistic way.  I wanted to do the same thing but feature a more urban gay male couple whose love and relationship strength were the envy of all their friends, gay and straight.  Those two characters became Perry and Roy. I put all these stones together, starting paving out other characters and plot lines and the web series SPIN THE BOTTLE was born!”

As is often the case with web series, especially those produced on a very low budget and on a tight schedule, trying to keep a core group of actors together can be a difficult task. Filmed over the past two summers, SPIN THE BOTTLE was no exception, which is why viewers will see different performers in certain roles as the first two seasons progress. For example, while Emma Pyne plays the role of Leeza in seasons 1 and 3, that role was portrayed by Ogy Durham in season 2.

Chad was played by three different actors (Joshua Christian in season 1, Justin Tully in season 2, and Josh Martin in the upcoming third season), while Perry was played by Joel Evan Tye in the show’s first two seasons, and Palazzolo in the upcoming third season. Jeff Castle portrayed Bobby in season 1 (a role now played for the past two seasons by Yves Bright). Only Barnard’s role as Roy and Espiritu’s role as Kylie remained unchanged.

SPIN THE BOTTLE tackles many issues involving love, sex and relationships – from intimacy, to friendly yet intense competition between men and women to see who’s got the best ‘mojo’, to the regret people feel after a failed romance. Amidst all those aspects of the show’s story, Barnard says there’s one major factor that sets it apart from many movies, TV shows and even web series.

“SPIN THE BOTTLE tries to break the traditional gay stereotype by showing a committed gay male couple who are actually the envy of all the straight people on the show. They are not queeny or diva-ish in any way. They are just two guys who work hard, love each other and support each other in every way. That theme in a LBGT couple tends to be less represented than other gay characters currently in film or television,” he says.

While SPIN THE BOTTLE has already achieved success and viewership in its three seasons online, as well as earning Barnard acclaim among his peers in the industry, he hopes to take his show to an even bigger level, either through broadcast or cable, or possibly through bigger streaming video platforms like Netflix and Hulu. Even more importantly, he hopes to continue the story of a close group of friends united – and often defined – by the topsy turvy world of love. In a nutshell, Barnard describes his series like this: “It’s a fun little cocktail of FRIENDS mixed with SEX AND THE CITY and a splash of WILL AND GRACE.”

(The series is not closed-captioned as of yet).