Slip made a major appearance at this years’ SXSW festival in Austin Texas. Zoe Lister-Jones, a frequent participant at SXSW, has written, directed, and stars in this television series (Roku Originals). Slip takes our heroine and places her in several relationships, usually after a steamy sex scene, each one more puzzling to the central character.
As the series opens, Mae Cannon (Zoe Lister-Jones) is in a 13-year marriage to Elijah (Whitmer Thomas). The marriage has run out of passion and is like “being single together.”
When her girlfriend Gina (Tymika Tafari), with whom she works at a museum, says, “You found your person,” it’s clear that the pair is in a rut.
After a museum show, her husband Elijah bails on attending the after-party. That puts Mae in a bar alone, and she ends up going home with Eric (Amar Chadha-Patel). Eric is a successful music composer with an international following. The sex scene is impressive and welcome for the neglected wife. Interestingly Mae wakes up the next morning and discovers that she has entered an alternate reality. In this new reality, Mae is now married to the man, Eric, whom she just slept with. (“You’re just sort of witnessing a version of your life.”)
If this sounds confusing to Mae, it is, but it is a tribute to the writer/director/star Ms. Lister-Jones. We soon learn that these multiple lives usually follow a sex scene. We then see a second “alternate reality” that finds our girl in a lesbian relationship with Sandy (Emily Hampshire. She’s also the mother of a child who is having a birthday that day.
Whitmer Thomas, Tymika Tafari, and Zoe Lister-Jones conduct a Q&A after
“Slip’s” premiere at SXSW.
The writing is sharp. (“I wasn’t born to speak. I was always born to sit.”) The acting is good. The “Slip” concept is easy to follow and interesting.
Zoe Lister-Jones said she wrote all seven episodes while in quarantine. She gave thanks to Rue Donnelly and Dakota Johnson for “shepherding this from inception,” along with Boatrocker and Roku. A Toronto composing team (one of the team is a band member of “Destroyer”) provides great musical accompaniment.
Lister-Jones acknowledged that she wanted to “use sex as the centerpiece of each episode, to feel like you are inside the sexuality.” Judging from the episodes we saw at this World Premiere, she succeeded. There is a strong emphasis on female empowerment and female pleasure and pushing boundaries.
The writer/director/star admitted to a bit of a fixation on Timothy Chalamet and Barbra Streisand. The latter receives a shout-out via a coffee cup that re-appears and orients us to the fact that Mae has drifted into another alternate reality. (The cup and the white shoes).
It was a refreshingly original work that was quite well done. It will be fun to see where she takes the series.