What’s the shittiest or strangest job you ever had to do?
I once freelanced creating fake profiles for a new social network in the U.K. and had to message people to build momentum for the website. When my male boss noticed that the naughty female profiles he had created were getting the most activity and suggested we create more naughty profiles—I quit. I found this writing job on Gumtree, the U.K.-version of Craigslist. It was 2008, the height of the financial crisis, I was fresh out of grad school and I needed money.
Long-time The Onion parody news site writer Lane Moore created Gold Stars, a comedy web series based on just that: being broke and the random-shitty-strange jobs one will take for money. It’s also about living in Brooklyn, love-hate friendships, bad roommates, dating and a horde of other relatable things you’ll find amusing. The best part is—it’s filmed in Bushwick.
“When I first moved to New York from L.A. I took any job I could,” explained Moore, who wrote, filmed, directed, starred in and edited each four- to six-minute episodes. “I’m a comedian and have spent so much time freelancing, but I haven’t seen anything out there depicting the crazy jobs one does to get paid.”
The eight-episode first season centers on roommates Cassie (Moore) and Anna (Molly Knefel), two 20-something-year-old women who quit their miserable full-time jobs to become “their own bosses.” Each episode features Cassie going to sketchy Craigslist jobs (i.e. fetish pooping for vegetarian research), while Anna cooks up new schemes to save money, like furnishing their apartment by hosting a housewarming party for strangers.
Gold Stars will come across as an HBO Girls– or Comedy Central Broad City-copycat, with two struggling 20-something female lead characters: one being a nice, sweet and optimistic pushover who sees the good in people (Cassie), the other (Anna) completely taking advantage of Cassie’s generosity. In fact, in the first Broad City episode for Comedy Central What a Wonderful World, leading ladies Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson—whose show also launched online before Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler discovered the duo and took them to cable television—go to a strange Craigslist job to raise money for concert tickets.
However, Moore said that while other television shows may depict “struggling artists” trying to survive in New York, they’re essentially about “wealthy teens” living in “fantastic apartments” who get by with one job. Gold Stars, Moore said, is about “broke people.”
“It’s a very common experience in New York where, you’re not homeless, but you’re not that far away from it,” she said.
Susie Lewis Lynn, co-creator of 90s-hit animated television series Daria, praised the show on Twitter: “Warms my heart when young, talented women continue to create & write stories about strong females.”
The strange jobs depicted in the show were inspired by some of Moore’s previous jobs. One job required her to type up documents to sue the City of New York for a blind man who lived in a “trash room.” The job ended when he accidentally spilled water on Moore’s laptop. “I’m pretty sure he was homeless,” Moore recalled.
Also, unlike Broad City where the loving friendship between Ilana and Abbi is evident, Gold Stars viewers might find themselves asking why Cassie continually tolerates Anna’s blatantly self-motivated and inconsiderate behavior. For example, in Episode 2 The Couch Guy, Anna gives Cassie a “present,” but she’s actually only returning Cassie’s—now broken—bracelet that she borrowed ages ago and never returned.
“When we see female friendships [on television], everything is great and awesome, or they hate each other,” Moore explained when asked about Cassie and Anna’s relationship. “So many women have had a friend they looked up to and think is cool and you let them take advantage of you.
“I wanted to show these flawed friendships,” she said. “Sometimes it’s fun to watch these awful people and it doesn’t take away from how funny it is.”
Moore is in the process of writing and filming Season 2 and said it will be a lot less “black and white” and will show Anna being a better friend, while Cassie may begin to realize whether she actually needs Anna in her life. Moore expects to have new episodes out by early this summer.
If you have a few minutes to spare, catch an episode of Season 1 (pilot below) and see if you can identify one of your favorite Bushwick hangouts. Hint: It’s the Ange Noir Café.