By Angelina Lim
If Dyke Central isn’t an enticing enough title then a glance at the ethnically diverse cast will do it. Only one full episode in and the relatable cast draws in attention as easily as dissecting a hot date with friends over brunch. Co-creator, producer, director and lead writer, Florencia Manóvil brings a fresh take on the queer community, showcasing multifaceted faces and relationships. Even Oakland, where the show is based, and Dyke Central, the nickname of the lead roles’ home, become part of the cast themselves.
The dramedy follows the lives of butch best friends and roommates Alex (Tia Rockett) and Gin (Giovannie Espiritu). It’s a delightful queer drama that opens with Alex lying to her girlfriend, Jackie (Comika Ashby), to prevent them from discussing Jackie moving into Dyke Central. Alex claims that they’ve already found a new female roommate, and what seems to be routine, Gin scrambles to find one in a few days so that Alex’s lies become truths. But cover ups are never that easy as an old flame suddenly reenters and only more drama commences. All of it unfolding on Alex’s thirtieth birthday.
During Alex’s birthday party, the slow crescendo of queer community presence creates a familiar scene. There’s sexual energy, tension, anxiety, drama, make-outs, bathroom sex and plenty of puff, puff, pass. Dyke Central seamlessly introduces an array of characters. As said from the opening song, there are femmes, butches and transsexuals in Dyke Central. It’s a refreshing mix that promises to bring interesting dynamics and storylines.
Co-creator Manóvil discusses the show and her personal connections to Dyke Central in an interview with T.H.E. Founder, Emelina Minero, which you can watch below. An interesting topic discussed was bisexuality. One of the characters, Fabiana (Carla Pauli) is shown in the opening credits checking out both men and women. Portrayals of bisexuals in media are often skewed, showing them predominantly favoring one gender and an undercurrent of distain for the other (i.e. Alice in The L Word). There’s also a lot of discrimination and non-acceptance towards bisexuals from both LGBTQ communities and heterosexuals. With only one episode out, it’s still questionable how Fabiana’s sexuality will play out. Manóvil, however, discusses being openly bisexual which should make for an honest look and understanding of bisexuality.
Another interesting portrayal in Dyke Central will be pansexuality from Zack (Tom Paul), which Manóvil gives away during the interview. There seems to be a great theme of showcasing the immense diversity in sexuality, relationships and culture within the blanket term LGBTQ. There is one easily overlooked exchange between Fabiana’s gay friend, Mario (Andre Le Blanc) and Gin working as a bartender. Mario comes off as a snobby San Franciscan and Gin steps up to the challenge showing Oakland isn’t all that different. Another seamless look at how communities are divided and subcultures exist. This seems to be the exciting theme of the web series: exploring diversity that is often overlooked with assumptions associated with the general term LGBTQ.
Dyke Central is an easy to love and exciting new web series. It’s full of comedy, relatable characters and quality acting. It’s smart, diverse and modern. The show is so down-to-earth that it can be enjoyed as simple entertainment, but there is also a wonderful undercurrent of deeper topics open for discussion (dykecentral.com).
Watch the first episode here, and if you’re going to the Dinah Shore in Palm Springs, be sure to get tickets to the Dinah Shore Film Festival where you can see more of Dyke Central and meet the creator, cast and crew. You can buy tickets at the door on Friday, April 4 at the Hilton Hotel grand ballroom at 7 pm. The viewing will begin promptly at 8 pm. Web series #Hashtag, Kiss Her I’m Famous, Little Horribles and Nikki & Nora and films Girl Gets Girl and Secrets & Toys will also be screening at the Dinah Film Festival. A Q&A will follow with the creators, cast and crew.