Valerie Ní Loinsigh and Eoghan McQuinn star in the five part web-series ‘Notions’
The first episode of LGBT comedy web-series Notions from creative team Valerie Ní Lionsigh and Eoghan McQuinn is finally out. GCN had teased the series with the first trailer back in February, but here it is below.
To find out more about the series and how it came about, we caught up with Eoghan McQuinn, star and co-writer of Notions.
First off, what are ‘Notions’ for those who don’t know?
It is a very Irish phrase. I don’t think other cultures would really understand our use of the word notions, but it is totally about delusion and grandiose visions of yourself that maybe don’t correspond with reality.
Tell me about the series?
Well, Valerie and I have known each other for a few years. We actually met in a retail job, we didn’t even know each other in the arts or anything. We got on like a house on fire and then she stopped working there and a year or so passed.
She was in New York for a year. And then, when she came back before Christmas I was like: “Right, we have to do something together because I know we can make something fun.”
And I’d read some of her work – she always posts stuff online – and I was really impressed by her writing. I thought: “Yeah she’s going to make me look good if I work with her!”
She suggested to make a film together, and I came back with: “Why not theatre?”.
She said: “No, no, we have to make a film. I’m so sick of theatre!”
Then I had the idea of maybe doing a pilot for something, very much based on ourselves. In fact, in the show we have our own names.
So you play yourselves?
Basically, we kind of play a heightened version of ourselves. It’s kind of a satire on the struggle of being in your mid- to late-twenties and being disillusioned with the economic realities and mental delusions that we all face.
We wanted to play around with the idea of self-indulgent artists as well. I kind of get annoyed when I read a book about a struggling writer, so if you watch a show about a struggling actor and they clearly just made it because they’re a struggling actor, we’re trying to make meta comment on it.
We’re very aware of what we’re doing in that it is a bit like who would watch this, oh I hate all that naval gazing, but that’s what we’re doing.
Where would you look to draw your inspiration?
I probably steal from everything, but maybe Girls. We don’t have the production values of Girls, but… I think Lena Dunham is very aware that she’s writing about her own experience, and yet people think she is that character.
I don’t think she actually is. She’s making a comment on people like that and that’s what we’re trying to aim for. I don’t think everyone always gets it.
It entertains us and that’s all that matters to us.
How do LGBT issues come across in the web series?
Well what’s interesting is that we don’t even really acknowledge it. There are LGBT issues in it and at one point my character does bemoan his perceived superficiality of the gay scene, but it’s kind of like… we’re past the point of making it an issue and it just so happen that my partner is a Filipino man (played by Marlon Simeon) rather than me being single or I’m with a girl or whatever.
I wasn’t interested in trying to play straight. We’re quite close to ourselves in this show anyway, and the whole tension of the show is that Valerie doesn’t want to be at home in Clon(akilty), and she wants to be in Dublin. So she kind of imposes herself on us and moves in. There’s kind of boundary issues and territory issues. Her character is a loose cannon, so that causes a fracture in my relationship.
So you see that play out, and the difference in my personality and my parter’s personality and how we deal with the third person in the equation.
When writing the script did you make use of LGBT stereotypes or was it more of an organic process from which the characters developed?
I think Valerie’s character takes digs at me for being more feminine than she is, and I do the same in reverse, but it’s all done in a kind of endearing way.
Some jokes in there are kind of risqué and there’s things about Claddagh rings and The Devil Wears Claddagh.
And then there’s this other motif that’s running through it that came out of nowhere which is, Valerie and I, especially my character, when I get upset I go into Femme Fatale mode and I start talking in a Bette Davis, or Joan Crawford voice and I’m really a Diva.
We both kind of get into these arguments together where it’s high drama. They’re going to be in black and white those sequences, with dramatic music in the background… a bit like Feud, but we thought of it first!
Because a lot of gay men in particular are drawn to those strong female characters from yesteryear.
Check out the first episode of Notions below.
Did you like the first episode? Will you be tuning into episode two? Let us know in the comments.