Strangers: One of the Best Shows on Television Is Actually on Facebook

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Despite the inherent benefit of being able to clog our timelines with their videos, Facebook has been strangely ineffective with marketing their new streaming platform. Or at least, that’s what I’m gathering from number of people I’ve heard discussing the site’s show Strangers, which is close to zero. That’s unfortunate, because Strangers is hands down one of the very best new shows this fall.

The show comes from writer/director Mia Lidofsky as part of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. (It’s also executive produced by the women-centric website Refinery29.) The show follows a 20-something woman named Isobel (Zoe Chao), who, fresh off of a breakup and needing financial stability, puts her spare bedroom up on Airbnb. But the result of having a revolving door of strangers coming through her home and her life is more than just financial. Every new tenant pushes her relationship with herself and with those around her to new places. If that sounds cheesy, it’s not, not in the slightest. It’s hilarious and heartwarming and sexy.

The show is also a sometimes brutally honest exploration of sex in all its forms–the expectations, the ebbs and flows, the discoveries. In an interview with Refinery29, Lidofsky talked about the importance of characters’ self-exploration not ending in their 20s.

“There’s something exciting about meeting women or men who come out later on in life,” she said, “because it means we can always be discovering and redefining ourselves. There’s this expectation that you have a sense of yourself by the time you’re in your 30s: You know the path you’re on, you know who you are, and who you love. But, what happens when you discover something extraordinary about yourself at those later stages?”

She also said of the larger conversation around sexuality, “My goal is to make the spectrum of sexuality more ‘normal’ and show that it doesn’t have to be such a binary. The show really is about the fact that love is ever-changing. It’s about finding yourself and your truth then staying truthful to that, no matter what. I would love to continue portraying a plethora of sexualities in people onscreen. Season 1 was just the beginning of that exploration.”

So far there are seven episodes up on Facebook, and each is fantastic. Isobel’s tenants range from a honeymooning couple to a woman meeting her birth mother to a wannabe Hollywood dudebro screenwriter. (Seriously, if you do nothing else, watch the opening scene of episode two for the best, most hilarious conversation about representation in film I’ve maybe ever seen.)

It’s just the icing on the cake, but the show is packed full of awesome guest stars. From Jemaine Clement to Shiri Applebee to Jemima Kirk to Insecure’s Langston Kerman, it’s just a beautiful mess of talent.

Strangers is on Facebook Watch, with new episodes out Mondays.

(image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.