Vancouver doesn’t usually get the chance to play herself on television; she’s more likely to stand in for Seattle, New York, or made-for-The-CW locales on the small screen than she is to appear as herself, bike lanes and idiosyncrasies and all.
The web series sphere is where Vancouver truly gets the chance to shine as the gloriously complicated character she is. She’s one of the title characters in the comedy web series Girls vs. The City, the second season of which hit the ’net last week.
(For more examples of Vancouver-centric web series, see our round-up.)
The “girls” of Girls vs. The City are similarly complicated characters named Brynn and Brianna, played by series co-creators Brynn Peebles and Brianna Wiens.
Like their exaggerated on-screen counterparts, Peebles and Wiens are longtime BFFs engaged in a love-hate relationship with this city (although it’s mostly love at this point).
The fictional Brynn and Brianna are BFFs striving to make connections in a city where everything costs too much and everyone has their guard up, says Peebles in a recent phone interview with the Courier and Wiens.
“We lovingly make fun of Vancouver,” says Peebles.
Comedy, she goes on to say, is a survival strategy, “because there’s so much that’s absurd about living in Vancouver, and people are so in their bubbles.”
The web series is a spin-off of Girl on Girl Humor, a YouTube channel they started six years ago and populated with blistering improv comedy videos.
Season one of Girls vs. The City followed the women as they rebuilt their lives after one B lost her relationship and the other lost her home (which we admit doesn’t sound too funny, but B & B spin their characters’ pain into comedy gold).
Peebles describes season two as “us realizing we’re out of place and trying to find where we fit in, and realizing how much more together everyone else has their lives, and how we’re these almost-30-something jobless, friendless, husbandless, clueless, not-quite Millennials.”
Making new friends is the fictional duo’s raison d'être. In season two, they take their search for friends to a craft brewery (where douche-bros toss back pints while identifying notes of straw wicker and mushroom soup), to a running club (after observing that everyone in Vancouver works out because they’re broke and in desperate need of mood-altering endorphins), to a tabletop role-playing game, and into the indie art scene (which, we discover, has a surprisingly dark underbelly).
“I think our job as comedians is to bring everybody out of it for a second and go, ‘Hey, what we’re all doing is pretty stupid and funny,’” chuckles Wiens.
Wiens and Peebles recently attended the tony Banff World Media Festival, where they pitched Girls vs. The City to TV industry stakeholders.
Vancouver is an unending source of inspiration, says Wiens. “The beautiful thing about this show is there’s always going to be material in the city,” she says. “Vancouver is full of funny people, and there’s not that much comedy here in terms of comedy television series, so we want all the funny people on our show.”
Stream both seasons of Girls vs. The City here.
Sabrina Furminger writes regularly about Vancouver's film and television industry for the Courier. She is also the editor-in-chief of YVR Screen Scene.