At first glance, Logo’s new offering, “DTLA,” looks a lot like “Queer As Folk.” The cast is more racially diverse. There are more sunglasses and less plaid and presumably, there’s more sunscreen application given a location distinctly south of Toronto. Los Angeles is a much different venue but regardless; it’s the same song to a different dance and wonderfully updated music.
And, that’s just fabulous.
Art imitates life and art imitates art and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially when it’s done right.
“DTLA” has reinvented and reincarnated a hugely untapped genre: the everyday lives of the enchanted and the straights who love them.
From the producers of “The L Word” comes this comedic drama about a group of tight knit, 20- and 30-something friends, whooping it up and/or living quiet lives of despair in the wilds of Los Angeles. The writing is clear and strong and the cast, thoroughly engaging. And there’s the aforementioned drama, lots of drama both real and imagined.
Call me biased, but from a strict, entertainment perspective, there’s no drama like gay drama featuring 20- and 30-year-olds.
Nothing says angst like searching for your boyfriend’s secret Adam4Adam profile the same week you discover a black mold infestation in the hugely expensive downtown loft you’re desperately trying to unload in a down, real estate market. Right? Now add genuine calamity, like aging parents and health issues and there you have it: substance.
There is genuine substance here, keenly acute substance just beneath a surface glistening with froth, and that’s what makes “DTLA” so darned good.
But wait, there’s more!
Sandra Bernhard joins "DTLA" cast
“DTLA” has given the ever-fabulous Sandra Bernhard another platform to showcase her ever-fabulous self.
On a phone interview from New York, Bernhard talks about the series.
“Friends of mine were involved with the project, the director and creator Larry Kennar. I knew Larry from ‘The L Word.’ He came to me and asked if I’d do an episode and it turned into two, and that’s how it all came about.”
In “DTLA,” Sandra plays a lesbian Mom. She and her ex, played by Melanie Griffith, raised a son.
“Melanie and I have hung out over the years,” Bernhard said. “I’ve always loved her. I think she’s a great actress. She got underneath the role and she’s great to work with. It’s a great role! We were pioneers in the gay, parenting world.”
Now an adult, their son, Bryan (Matthew Stephen Herrick) is partnered with Lenny (Darryl Stephens) a high-strung high-maintenance civil litigation attorney.
“Well, you know he’s a lawyer, he works hard so, I guess he’s really keeping it together for both of them,” Bernhard said, sounding somewhat defensive of her on screen, son-in-law.
Bryan hasn’t worked in a year and all of Bryan’s job interviews have been out of town, or on a golf course or some other curious venue.
And Lenny is getting suspicious.
So there it is. Lenny is reduced to spying on Adam4Adam, dealing with black mold and financing his mother’s declining health.
Point taken: No wonder Bernhard defends her son-in-law.
That’s Sandra Bernhard. She’s a ferocious defender in her fictional and real life. And for Sandra Bernhard, there’s far more to talk about than the latest project. The lady loves politics.
Regarding Election Day on Nov. 6, 2012:
“We were all concerned in our household. We were concerned about everything across the board, from women’s reproductive rights to gay rights to education to health care. Or, God forbid, the Republicans coming in and starting yet another war to support their cronies on the war machine and all the money that war makes for them.”
“The frosting on the cake, though, were new Senate seats for really smart, great people, and bills supporting gay marriage, passing in so many places. It was a great night, and I feel like Obama has a mandate to do the good things he’s now empowered to do. There’s no going back. It’s a new world and it’s a multicultural world, a world that’s coming to embrace many different lifestyles, and I think we’ll step up to another level in our evolution," she said.
“Now that he has a mandate he won’t take any more crap. He’ll do what he set out to do four years ago. He has a lot more experience and a lot more support. He’s less naïve about the obstructionists, and I think it’s going to be a different story.”
Bernhard doesn’t know diplomatic when it comes to politics. She lampooned political figures in her stand-up comedy in the 1970s. She sharpened that skill with a much larger television audience in her breakout role in “Roseanne.” Her blunt assessment of all that is stupid has made her friends and made her enemies. But one thing is clear: Bernhard is like a fine wine. She only gets better. Forgive that over-used metaphor, but none is more apt.
Her appearances on “DTLA” are proof positive that Bernhard is both fresh and vintage. She is the icing on a particularly fabulous cake.
Bravo Logo. You have a winner. Just two requests:
1. A season 2 for “DTLA.”
2. More Sandra Bernhard, please.
"DTLA" airs on Logo on Fridays at 9 pm PT/midnight ET and repeats frequently. Episodes can also be viewed on the Logo website.
Kurt Niece writes about visual arts for SDGLN. He is a freelance journalist from Lakewood, Ohio. He is the author of "The Breath of Rapture" and an artist who sells his work on his website.