"Muy Excited" Will Tell the Story of Being "Brown and Down" in Austin
After working on and appearing in shows around town, local writer and performer Andie Flores, who you may recognize from the B. Iden Payne award-winning sketch comedy show Doper Than Dope, has written her first solo feature project — an eight episode web series about “being brown and down in Austin, Texas."
And she did it not by waking up at the crack of dawn daily, but working on it just a little bit more each day, because, as she says, “this shit is really hard.”
“Just write one episode,” her friend Jesus, who appears in the series as Gabriel, told her. “Write one episode and when you're done with that, you can try another.”
Now that she’s done that eight times over, she’s on to more hard shit: raising funds to make the series happen. She's launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the $15,000 needed to ensure everyone involved is compensated fairly.
Muy Excited, the forthcoming web series, pulls from Andie's own life, using comedic things that have happened to her, as well as personal influences like Selena and Pee-wee Herman, to create something new, funny, and weird, in service of telling a story that expands the narrative of what it means to be black and brown in a hyper-white urban city.
That hyper-white urban city is, of course, Austin, Texas, where Andie moved on somewhat of a whim, expecting to find the diversity, inclusion and weirdness that the city likes to make its calling card.
“But really,” she found, “all of those things are sort of streamlined for one specific purpose and that's making money.”
That gap between the city Austin presents itself as, and the city that Austin really is, can be a place where comedy lives, Andie has found.
Austin is “definitely a place where expectations get turned on their head, I feel like, quite a bit,” she says. “For a lot of people everything here has to go wrong before they can figure out how to make it right.”
The character Andie, her friends Gabriel and Maggie and Maggie’s brother Chris, will navigate those busted expectations, as well as tell the story of “seeing yourself everywhere and nowhere at the same time” (the show’s tagline) in a city that coopts Latino cultural influences without providing real support for the people that create them.
“It's like a piece of flare for our city,” she says of those influences. “We're going to wear this proudly but we're not actually going to include you.”
It’s a race issue, for sure, she says, but it’s also a financial one.
“There's many different versions of an Austin experience based on how much money you make and we don't get to see very often the broke side of Austin, because maybe it's not the most appealing,” says Andie. “I want to see people who are taking the bus everywhere, I want to see people who don't know how they're going to make rent and I want to see people who have to pool resources and get creative, because I feel like we don't see those stories.”
Increased representation is part of what Andie hopes to accomplish with Muy Excited. Boss Babes spoke with her two days after the 2017 Emmys where no Latinos took home awards, just like last year. And as she writes on the series’ Indiegogo page, the USC’s “Inequality in 900 Popular Films” reported that “of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, Latinos captured only 3.1 percent of big-screen roles,” the lowest percentage since the study began in 2007.
“It's important — if I'm feeling not represented, I want to do the work and make sure people don't feel like that in the future,” she says.
Andie remembers watching “Selena,” the movie, growing up and for the first time seeing family that looked like hers. The movie — which she knows backwards and forwards — is referenced not just in the show’s title, but also in an episode which recreates iconic scenes from the film, placing them in a new context.
For all the work it will do to help increase representation for black and brown people living in Austin, Texas, fans of Andie Flores’ previous work know that Muy Excited will also be colorful, creative and simply funny. Taking that Selena influence and mixing it with Andie’s Pee-wee Herman fandom and the visual experimentation she incorporates into her own life, the series is sure to be wholly original and entertaining.
“There’s so many different kinds of people in this world,” she says. “If I can just tell one story that a small group of people can relate to, that would mean the world to me.”