Stop scrolling, Tumblr-ites, because I have got the webseries for you.
i can’t even celebrates the unabashed enjoyment of pop culture fandoms ranging from Twilight and Outlander to Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Doctor Who.
The Australian series premiered August 3, 2015 with an initial 6 episodes each about 3-5 minutes in length.
Here’s the first episode:
i can’t even is a light-hearted Youtube webseries that follows two roommates, Lex and Em, through their daily lives as they’re shaped by various fandoms.
Em, the quieter roommate of the pair is thoughtful and cautious – the polar opposite of boisterous Lex, who hurricanes in and out of rooms and has a proclivity for samurai swords.
Em and Lex’s apartment is chock-full of fandom gear, and the repartee between the two girls is equally packed with pop culture references. The series centers around their friendship and their fandom fantasies – and how those fantasies lead to some funny hijinks (e.g. running around a Con Indiana-Jones style, ordering a caged pigeon to go to Hogwarts).
Each video is about 3 – 6 minutes long and filmed as though the characters are unaware of the camera. It’s a change from the typical vlog style webseries, which The Lizzie Bennet Diaries popularized, where the characters speak directly to camera and break the 4th wall, but it works for the narration of this particular story.
Each episode focuses on a different fandom where the girls go on a different adventure. Every segment ends with the credits, followed shortly by a cutscene which consists of either a bonus scene or a filming blooper, so stick around after the credits for more content!
This series isn’t transmedia, meaning that the sole source of content is the Youtube videos.
This decision to stay purely on Youtube makes sense for this particular story, because there isn’t continuity between each of the episodes. The audience can jump in at any point in the series without prior knowledge and view a complete adventure without the whiplash from watching an entire season’s worth of backstory.
Strengths / Weaknesses
I am a sucker for production value every time. The acting is quality and the chemistry between the leads makes the audience believe their friendship is unscripted. A fair amount of webseries fall prey to stilted dialogue or wooden acting, but I’m happy to say that isn’t the case here.
I genuinely enjoyed watching Em and Lex’s interactions onscreen, and the nerdy dialogue filled with ‘in’- fandom jokes made me keep watching more.
Production value on this series also means that the effects during the fantasy sequences are extremely well done – from the soft glow of Lex’s Hogwarts letter in the first episode to the CGI’ed lightsaber battle, the special effects in post-production really make i can’t even feel clean and well-executed.
I parallel this series’ humor to Natalie Tran’s (communitychannel’s) sense of humor (not just because she’s Australian!). The sense of humor is similar – both channels feel self-conscious and a little silly, and both follow independent, empathetic women telling stories about their lives.
As for the negatives, for the love of Sherlock, can we please get some better sound equipment up in here?
The first two episodes didn’t record in surround sound – I know this because when I had my headphones in, I was convinced one side was broken – and all six of the episodes are barely audible when I max out my laptop’s volume.
The dialogue and jokes may be on point, but if I have to go back, plug-in earbuds, and watch the same 5 seconds three times in order to understand what was just said, I’m going to fall a little out of love with what is otherwise a lovely series.
Check out i can’t even if you want a funny, light webseries with lots of pop-culture references. The acting is phenomenal, the dialogue is engaging, and the subject matter speaks to internet culture on a deep, spiritual level. Bonus: the lack of continuity between episodes means the audience can come in at any time without having to commit to an entire series so you can break in between episodes to check your Tumblr dash.
Creators: Alyce and Hayley Adams,
Em: Louise Cox
Lex: Tiana Hogben