Dir. Shaina Feinberg On Season 2 Of Her All-Female, Queer Web Comedy Series ‘Dinette’.

‘Dinette’ Season 2 on BRIC TV

‘Dinette’, the series that premiered at Tribeca to rave reviews and critical acclaim, is now poised for a Season 2 premiere, September 24, 2021 on BRIC TV’s YouTube channel, and on terrestrial NYC TV on BRIC, airing 2 episodes each Monday starting September 27. Shot in January 2020 in Brooklyn and Queens, NYC and put on hold until now, ‘Dinette’ Season 2 is a queer ensemble comedy in 6 parts. Centering women, gender non-conforming and queer actors and characters, the series is a gender-swapping answer to the genre of male connection and character-centered narratives. The digital series was produced by BRIC TV. 

In Season 2, the staff and regulars of a Brooklyn-based diner scramble to keep their favorite hangout afloat after the sudden death of its owner. Mick (Drae Campbell), Dee (Donna Wood), Karolena (Karolena Theresa), White Rachel (Jaqueline Fouasnon) and Jaq (Jude Dry)  juggle one situation after another when the new owner, Luisa (Alysia Reiner), shows up. Meanwhile, Norah (Maeve Higgins) and Lucille (Mona Chalabi) are busy helping a Syrian asylum seeker (Karim Nematt) who’s hiding out in a local church. 

The TV series is inspired by creator Shaina Feinberg’s childhood viewing of Barry Levinson’s ‘Diner’ and her unique twist on a genre that has typically prioritized the male gaze.

“I remember as a kid watching ‘Diner’ and it’s all about dudes,” said Shaina in a press release.

“There’s like one lady in it and she doesn’t do much. And I felt like I really related to the guys. Most of my work is doing this – slotting in women in “male” roles. Overall with most of the movies I’ve watched I’ve felt like the guys were more like me and my friends than the women. In my first feature I play the lead and my husband plays the manic pixie dream girl.”

In Season 1 we see the concept of gender-swapping in Hollywood brought up directly when the documentary director played by Feinberg herself, asks Jaq (Jude Dry), what film they would make, and the answer is ‘Jaws’ but with all roles gender-swapped. There are in fact, only a few rare male characters in ‘Dinette’ and two of them are silent clowns played by Jeff Seal and Chris Manley. 

In anticipation of Season 2, we had the chance to speak with Shaina Feinberg about what viewers can expect, how BRIC TV has been playing a pivotal role in allowing more women and LGBTQ+ creators’ projects come to life, and the importance of representation on screen. But first, feast your eyes upon the ‘Dinette’ Season 2 trailer:

Congrats on the upcoming release of Dinette Season 2! How are you feeling in the lead up? 

I’m excited! It takes so much to make something and it feels so good to share it and get it out into the world.

Season 1 debuted with critical acclaim, proving yet again that audiences want to see more female, and LGBTQ+ stories on screen. What does this mean to you as a creator? 

It makes me excited! I want to see more female-driven, LGBTQ+-driven stories, so it feels exciting that other people want that too. For so long I have been unsatisfied by the female/LGBTQ+ representation onscreen, so it feels good to be part of a movement that is addressing that and creating more work that represents more folks. 

Can you talk to us about turning a typically male-dominated comedy genre on its head, and how the idea first came about? 

When I was younger, all the movies I watched featured men being funny, or they focused on male friend groups hanging out and being silly. And the women were minor characters with less nuanced personalities and feelings. And honestly, it just pissed me off. (It still does! Though it has gotten slightly better.) So as soon as I started making things – I started in my early 20s making a public access tv show called ‘The Spew’ – I started centering women. Then when I began to make movies and digital series, I continued to do that.

My major goal as a filmmaker is to add more women and LGBTQ+ characters to the lexicon. With ‘Dinette’ in particular, I was inspired by Barry Levinson’s movie Diner, and thought, if I could, I’d like to make a series that basically does a gender swap. Let’s see women/LGBTQ+ being nuanced and let’s let the male characters be more one-note, more silent, etc.. In both seasons only one male character gets to speak the entire time. 

‘Dinette’ director and creator Shaina Feinberg

We love the saying “if you can see it, you can be it”. Can you tell us more about what it means to be a queer filmmaker getting to make the types of films that feature characters that have been so invisible throughout the years?

It’s an exciting time because as a youth I didn’t ever agree with the dichotomy of how women and men were represented, but we didn’t talk about that so much. In fact, even when I started to make stuff (my public access show The Spew), I almost always played a man because I felt so put off and constrained by the female characters that were represented. And now, I feel like I/my characters don’t have to be men to be funny/nuanced/annoying/cool/weird. They can just be themselves. I think things are changing – and obviously we have so far to go – but it feels exciting to be part of that change.

Season 2 features some familiar faces such as Alysia Reiner from OITNB and popular Irish comedian Maeve Higgins. How do you hope viewers will respond to the regular characters as well as the new faces in Dinette? 

I hope they love them! Actually, Maeve is in Season 1. But Alysia is new to Season 2 and she is so great to watch, I am super excited for people to get to see her in it.

What were the most challenging story lines to write this season? 

I think the most challenging story line for me was an arc about a Syrian refugee who is seeking sanctuary in a church. I had worked on a non-fiction podcast with Maeve Higgins about immigrants, we had also written and produced a fictional podcast for Audible, about an immigrant friend group. And I, like so many other people, am just heartbroken by the treatment of immigrants in our country. I wanted to include something about that because it is so shocking to me that people can treat other people so inhumanely. But I struggled with how to do that in a show that is also ‘lite’ and comedic.

I do think that I was able to strike a balance and anyone who has seen the episodes feel like that storyline is the strongest. There is a nun in the final episode who is like, this is just fucked up how our country treats people – and that was very easy for me to write because it’s how I feel. And the actor T.L. Thompson played that role amazingly well!

‘Dinette’ Season 2 on BRIC TV

Can you share more about working with BRIC TV and how independent production entities and networks are helping emerging filmmakers get their work out into the world? 

BRIC is very cool and I feel super lucky to be one of their filmmakers. They’ve given me a lot of freedom to create what I want, which is awesome. I have been lucky to make work for people like Audible, IFC and Refinery29, but I’ve also made a ton of work just for myself – like fully indie projects. And working with BRIC has been a cool way for me to get funding to follow my precise vision.

You have been on a roll the past couple of years with Dinette as well as your various short and feature films. Do you ever get time off (ha!)) and what is coming up in the pipeline for you? 

Oh my gosh, I am so crazy, there is never time off. I just did a short series of short portrait docs – and that was a blast. I am working on several short films right now – three short docs and a short comedic piece, hoping to have all of those done this fall. And I also work with my constant collaborator Julia Rothman – she is an incredible illustrator. We had a book come out in January in the US and it just came out in Germany – so that is cool. And we are working on projects constantly.

If you could sum up Dinette Season 2 in three words, what would they be? 

People being people.

Catch Season 2 of ‘Dinette’ on BRIC TV by clicking HERE.

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