Jason Eksuzian’s new web series “Dinks” is as clever as it is flippant. Coming from one of the co-creators of the absurdly smart/ruthlessly poignant web series “I Miss Drugs“, this hardly comes as a surprise.
Dinks stands for dual income, no kids – a witty acronym from the late 80′s that perfectly sums up Bridget and her husband Ryan – two adults in their early thirties with with no mortgage, no children and no care in the world. With its subject matter laid out so plainly in the title, or in other words, explainable in five mere letters, it’s interesting to note that a show centered so closely on what I would consider an uninspiring subject, manages to achieve so much.
Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that shooting a comedy about a childless and carefree married couple is unoriginal, or even uninspired – it’s just well… Not a mockumentary set in Victorian London… Or an episodic retelling of Samuel Beckett’s most famous play.
I’m not sure what I expected when going into Dinks, but no more than twenty seconds through episode one, I was completely sold. After the second episodes opening scene, I realised I was going to become a big, big fan.
The series opens with a conversation between Ryan, Bridget and their accountant. The lighting, location, cinematography and editing are all spot on. The show looks beautiful. The solid production does much to set the show apart from other similar sitcoms, but it’s the quality of writing and characterisation on display here that really makes Dinks stand out. Pay attention during the first forty seconds of episode one, and you’ll notice a lot very intelligent scripting decisions threaded amongst the expected comic beats.
Ryan and Bridget’s tired looking accountant relays them their tax bill – the couple wince and “ooooohh” in unison at a number they’re clearly not big fans of. It’s a funny, even playful exhale though. They can afford to pay it – they just childishly don’t want to. Bridget wonders if she can claim their Cats as dependents – “I think the IRS will understand!” she tries, optimistically. Their sullen accountant disagrees, “You’re Dinks!”
It’s funny. It’s brief, it’s subtle and it sets us up completely for the rest of the series to come.
Continuing on good form, episode one fills its remaining five minutes with some excellent performances and visual comedy. Without ruining anything, Bridget and Ryan rattle off tax-deducting ideas as their accountant tries his best to be civil and polite with them. We leave the office for several much needed cut-away gags that end right on time, and Ryan and Bridget’s cheery optimism plus thickheaded stubbornness converge for a well handled climax driven by nothing more than well written characters and brilliantly delivered performances.
These themes, inverted somewhat as they are, come to the forefront in episode two when the show adopts a more traditional narrative format. In this episode we meet Ryan and Bridget’s friends; their grown up sensibilities contrast with the childlike enthusiasm of our childless leads, but they’re hardly painted as drab, uncool or irrelevant themselves. This is a show about growing old that skilfully sidesteps the depressing cliches by dwelling on life’s positives and glossing over all else. When Ryan and Bridget hang out with a younger friend named Holly, their generational gap is played with and made fun of, with but never obsessed over.
Dinks is refreshingly easygoing, sold on stellar performances by Matt Stauter as Ryan and Kincaid Walker as Bridget. Stauter and Walker’s onscreen rapport makes each episode a joy to watch.
Beautifully directed and produced, this energetic series will have me coming back for more.
I have only one problem with Dinks, but its a problem that thankfully can be amended. Moreso than any other show of its genre, Dinks is crying out some creator/fan interaction. Its leads are simply too enjoyably mad to not want to hear more from, and yet the show feels isolated and alone out on Vimeo. This series should look to Squaresville for an idea of the kind of things it could (and should) be doing to get its audience following, commenting and taking part.