What makes for a great show? Is it the script? Is it the beautiful actors and actresses who light up our screens? Is it the thrills and frills we normally associate with great shows? For actor and director Franklin Livingston, it’s more than that. It’s the talent and the raw, unfiltered look at the lives and loves of real, believable and relatable people. His new comedy series, Roomates, is a magical mix of humor and incredible performances by up-and-coming actors and actresses, including himself. These amazing people not only showcase incredible talent, but they also advocate for body positivity and inclusivity. For Franklin, this show is not just about the laughs, it is about a positive and life-affirming message as well.
We have all sat and thought, as we watched a television program, “I wish I could be like that.” We envy the lavish lifestyles, the good looks often developed by professional makeup artists and the love lives of these seemingly perfect characters in our favorite shows, no matter how ridiculously impossible their lives would be in reality. When I watch Franklin Livingston’s Roommates, I instantly think, “I AM like that!” It’s incredibly relatable, incredibly witty and incredibly true to itself. It isn’t trying to be lavish and over-complicated. It isn’t trying to make you change your own healthy lifestyle for something much more trendy and “in” without realizing the consequences it might have on your physical and mental health. Franklin’s show just wants to make you laugh and perhaps inspire you to have a small moment of realization that real life for the average American is pretty wild, pretty messy and yet so very beautiful.
While the series is not focused on glorifying unhealthy body images or materialism, it is focused on what every good comedy should be: the organic humor of the human experience. With Roomates, we see that when you take away all the pomp and circumstance of the average Hollywood comedy, you get something much more authentic. If Roomates’ quirky but cool and ever lovable characters do not win you over immediately, the story’s authenticity and courage to show the beautifully awkward and imperfect as the norm warms your heart and keeps you coming back for more.
If I have taken anything away from the Roomates viewing experience so far, it is that Franklin Livingston’s vision of reality is a mirror-image of my own. He understands both men and women’s need for acceptance and their search for meaning in a life that society often dumbs down until it has none at all. He also understands the average viewer’s need for more authentic stories and characters. We want to see us on the screen, in our array of imperfect but beautiful, raw and unapologetic realness. With Roommates, we get just that. Franklin Livingston is truly a visionary ahead of his time. Or perhaps, he is just in time to shine a much needed light on the kind of positivity and acceptance that is necessary for people of all types, shapes and shades. One thing is for certain, it is a beautiful thing to see myself and so many others represented on screen, and I can’t wait to see what lies in store for this amazing series.