Release Date: July 25, 2018
Cast: Carly Craig, Rosanne Arquette, Chelsea Frei
Production Company: Kissing Toads Productions
Run-time: ~25 minutes/episode
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Find it: Youtube Red – first two episodes free
Sideswiped follows a family of three women in different stages of their romantic lives.
Jayne (Carly Craig) is a thirty-something, career-driven woman who had her heart broken by a long-term ex-boyfriend and hasn’t dated much since. Olivia (Chelsea Frei) is Jayne’s younger, (happily?) married sister. Olivia recently had a baby, and is trying to bring some spontaneity back into her marriage. Mary (Rosanne Arquette) is Jayne and Olivia’s mother, who is back on a sex-crazed, dating prowl after her husband of thirty years died.
The series focuses on Jayne’s love life. Rather, her lack of love life. After a lackluster birthday, Olivia sets Jayne up on Tinder, and after a comically catastrophic first date and a subsequent run-in with her ex, Jayne wakes up in the morning having swiped and matched with hundreds of suitors.
Jayne makes a vow to date every last one of them to find her match. (I don’t remember the exact number of matches, but it was absurd. Like, 500 matches. Like, no way they could do this many episodes unless they planned to be on tv for 10 years and more successful than Friends.)
Production value and acting caliber on Sideswiped is extremely high- this is more of a tv series that happened to premiere online than the direct-to-camera scripted vlog series I tend to cover. The characters are well-written and the situational comedy in each of the two episodes I watched was superb.
I’m really curious to see how Olivia and Mary’s side stories progress, because their personalities are more vivacious compared to Jayne’s. Since I haven’t seen past the first two episodes, I’m curious about whether the series sticks to an episodic, date-of-the-week format, which I could see getting really old really quickly.
On the plus side, both dates in the first two episodes featured brand-name actors as the romantic interests (e.g. Tyler Posey from Teen Wolf fame).
One of its major obstacles: Sideswiped does fall into the ‘woe-is-me-I-am-30-and-undateable’ trope that feels patronizing at best and offensive at worst. Luckily, its charming cast helps minimize the heartburn. I got the impression that the show didn’t focus on that theme as much as the marketing did. When I was watching, I didn’t see the overt, ‘women are only valued for their looks and when they age they are useless because they are no longer desirable’ theme, otherwise I would not have enjoyed the series.
Overall, this is a solid show if you’re looking for an episodic rom-com. It’s reminiscent of Netflix’s woman-of-the-week Lovesick (which the OG fans will recall was originally named Scrotal Recall presumably before American executives realized the ‘ick’ factor was impacting their potential viewership) but 100% not as British and about 76% less impeccably crafted. It’s fun for a quick watch to laugh about the faux-pas perils of modern online dating.