Trying to find ‘the one’ can be a frighteningly awkward experience for everyone who’s played the dating game. Whether it’s through the increasingly popular world of online dating or through the old fashioned, unpredictable blind dates, spending a night out with a potential new love is bound to be memorable – for better or worse. Nobody knows that better than Jeannie and Preston, two lovestruck singles whose pursuit of romance is constantly tested in the new 6 episode comedy web series SO AWKWARD.

The series, now streaming on its official web site and Youtube page, stars series co-creator (with co-star Elliot Joseph) Tarah Consoli as Jeannie, an eccentric, yet tech-saavy app developer who would love to be in love with just about anyone. Her potential match could be Preston (Joseph), who, like Jeannie, also works in app development and also is desperate to find his special someone. Together, they’ve both got their own odd quirks. While Jeannie has a ‘mild‘ addition to coffee, she also enjoys reading books that focus on trying to prolong one’s life (among them, ‘How NOT To Die’). Preston secretly enjoys gangsta rap, so much so that he uses actual lyrics during his daily routine of morning meditation.

The show’s talented ensemble cast also features guest stars Kate Spurgeon as Brenda, Jeannie’s pushy best friend, David Ivkovic as Jeannie and Preston’s boss (a.k.a. ‘Head Honcho’), and Tom Williamson as Chaz, a suave bachelor whose love of basketball legend Michael Jordan is eclipsed only by his attempts to score in the dating department. Also featured is Kaiser Johnson as Preston’s best friend George, whose attempts at giving him good advice often end up being lost in translation, and Melanie Mullen as Jeannie and Preston’s yoga instructor Miel.

Many of those actors were either classmates of both Joseph and Consoli or were already familiar to them via improv, and Consoli hopes to give them a showcase for their talents through SO AWKWARD. “I feel like there is so much talent here, actors that are amazing and just need an opportunity to show it. We were more than happy to provide them with that opportunity and we were lucky to have them!”

Both talented actors and comedians, Consoli and Joseph first got to know each other at a casting showcase in Los Angeles. Newly transplanted to the area (Consoli from Canada, Joseph from London), their partnership began in a manner that’s perfectly befitting the web series they would go on to create – when they met at an actors’ showcase in Los Angeles. As a result of their encounter, the idea of a web series about the awkward pursuit of love would soon be conceived.

Says Consoli: “I’ve had friends wanting to collaborate and create something with me for like 10 years and we haven’t accomplished a single idea yet. But we were strangers, and we were serious about wanting to create something. Our meetings were like first dates, we needed to get to know each other, be our true selves, communicate what we want (in a project). So we basically took that energy, the nerves, the awkwardness of two strangers trying to create something together, and we ended up telling a story about two strangers trying to date each other.”

Meeting new people is often an awkward experience, but sometimes it can result in great relationships over time. Impressed by Consoli’s performance, Joseph decided to approach her with a new opportunity for both to shine creatively; one that would result in the development and production of what eventually became SO AWKWARD. “I had watched Tarah’s monologue before I went up and really connected to her style, afterwards I was like, ‘man, we should work together,’ and I didn’t know her, so while other actors were sniffing around agents, I had approached Tarah to ask if she wanted to do something. She said yes, but we had no idea what. After the showcase we started to meet for lunch time coffees and within six weeks we had written the episodes and began to shoot.”

From there, Consoli and Joseph set about filming the six episode series, and it was a shoot that ran smoother than expected for both thanks to a talented and experienced crew behind the camera. “I have so much gratitude for the people who jumped in to help us. I mean we had no budget, no nothing. Somehow we got it all done, quite smoothly and quickly, and had fun doing it. It was thanks to all of the friends who hopped on board, acting in the background, turning their backyards into cafes so we could get the locations we needed. Donating time, food, music, talent. It was organized and drama-free, very rare for a production, no? It also happened so fast! We shot the whole thing in 6 days, with a lot of different talent, location changes, stunts etc. It was my first experience ever on the production side of things, I was so busy my brain would be just swirling all night. Even now I look back and can’t believe we did it. It makes me so happy,” Consoli says.

SO AWKWARD isn’t just another comedy about the ups and downs of romance. It’s a show that features relatable characters dealing with those ups and downs in hilarious – and realistic fashion; a web series that portrays both the funny and painful sides of love. “Honestly this show is just oozing heart. Even though its technically a comedy, it’s not your usual comedic web series. It’s played very real and moves at a pace where the audience can breathe it in a bit and really connect with the characters, so they can relate, so they can root for them I hope. We show the heartbreak and the loneliness right there beside the crotch jokes and coffee spills, and that to me is a little more true to life and somehow that makes it even funnier, because it’s honest.”

For both Consoli and Joseph, just bringing SO AWKWARD to the web is an accomplishment they can be equally proud of; something that wouldn’t have even happened had it not been for their seemingly ‘awkward’ first encounter. “I already have a strong sense of accomplishment in that we created something that looks beautiful, has a clear story and is out in the world. Artistically, we hope this is just the start, we’ve already been accepted to a fantastic Web festival, and are about to be featured on a selective Web Channel. Looking ahead, we’d love to get a pilot made and an order to series, where can can explore these characters further within other environments.”

Consoli echoes those sentiments. “The series is really starting to get out there now, (and) I am already so excited and proud of what we’ve accomplished. At the end of the day, two strangers got off their butts and created something, we had a blast doing it, and we each got a great new friendship out of the deal too. So it’s a win-win and everything else is icing on the cake.”

SO AWKWARD is a comedy that will strike a chord with both the lovesick and the misunderstood alike – a show that’s for the underdog in all of us. “This show isn’t just for people in the dating world. It’s really reaching out to all the misfits out there. Elliot and I like to say it’s sort of like THE OFFICE meets (the acclaimed French film) AMELIE. It’s loaded with that sort of uncomfortable, awkward, slow burn sense of humor, but there is also something sort of magical and lovely about it in the way it’s shot,” Consoli says.

Adds Joseph: “(The message I’d like to send is) that we all have a place in the world, that everybody can push through and find what they’re looking for, even if it’s a struggle or seems impossible. The human condition lends itself to always want more, but what if we find it and have to figure out how to treasure it. Plus we want people to squirm, laugh when they feel they shouldn’t laugh and relate to the obscurity of Preston & Jeannie.”

(Note: The series is not currently closed captioned, but Consoli and Joseph are working to add that feature to SO AWKWARD.)




TWITTER: and @TarahConsoli and @elliotthinkit