Ingrid Jungermann made a splash in the web comedy scene in 2010 with the The Slope, the popular webseries she co-created about “superficial, homophobic lesbians” living in Park Slope. The series ran for two very popular seasons (in fact, the episode “Primary Care Giver” was recently selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick) and picked up a loyal following. Fans will be happy to know that though The Slope has ended, Ingrid’s sharp and personal brand of comedy continues with her new project, F to 7th. The “homoneurotic” spin-off web series focuses on Ingrid and her “descent into lesbian middle age,” with more of the playful jabs at Park Slope and its many characters.
The series launched this morning with “Off-Leash Hours,” an episode featuring Michael Showalter and Isaiah Stokes one-upping each other at the park. (Check it out here.) The first season is slated for eight episodes, with special guests including Amy Sedaris, Ann Carr, and Gaby Hoffmann. Below, Ingrid shares some thoughts on the creation of the show, its autobiographical aspects, and her favorite Park Slope memory.
Tell me a little bit about the decision to go solo after The Slope. How (if it all) has the process and experience changed from working with a partner?
Desiree [Akhavan, co-creator of The Slope] and I broke up before we shot the second season, but continued to work together for the first four episodes. It was challenging (to say the least) for both of us. I ended up pulling out for the last four because I needed time and space to heal. When fall came around, I was inspired to continue THE SLOPE because I had a lot of new ideas. It wasn’t THE SLOPE anymore for various reasons, so eventually it became F TO 7TH. Starting fresh gave me closure from THE SLOPE. With freedom came challenge, because I was on my own this time around. I was scared and intimidated. It turned out it has become my best filmmaking experience – the team, the cast, the support, the kickstarter backers, it’s been incredible. Throughout my life, this lesson has stayed with me – you have to keep working, keep moving – if you allow fear and intimidation to lead you, you’ll never experience the strength that comes out of the aftermath.
You’re bringing your character over from The Slope. How has “Ingrid” changed since then?
She’s single. Single life is a completely different animal. You have complete freedom and don’t have to answer to anyone, but in my experience, it elicits an intense loneliness. I’ve accepted that I’m just a lonely person, even in a relationship, so now I treat it as part of my make up rather than a flaw. I think a lot of people are lonely; the older you get, the harder it is to connect with people. I don’t know why that is – I suppose with age comes wisdom but wisdom has a price – wariness. My character this time is fumbling around, caught between two worlds – the young and the old. Most people understand those feelings because we all struggle with who we are no matter what age. In my show, I tried to offer myself up to represent that struggle – and I hope people can connect to it on that level if nothing else.
You seem to draw a lot from personal contradictions– the Slope focused on a homophobic gay couple, you talk about the F to 7th episode which features the misogynistic lesbian. What inspires you about these themes?
Those themes are reality. Contradiction is human. We still have a long way to go when it comes to equality, but I believe that in order to truly achieve that goal, you have to show your imperfections. We are all so flawed and lost – and that universal truth is in everyone. That’s what inspires me, and the more everyone admits their incongruities, the closer we’ll get to community. I also think that’s an optimistic approach to things, to assume we’ll come to the center and show our cards, but that’s what I need to believe in order to move around in this world.
How much of a role does Park Slope itself play in the show?
This time it serves as more of a backdrop. It’s a location where I live rather than an additional character. I wanted to focus more on issues of identity this time and less on the stereotypes of the neighborhood. Those characters are still there, but it’s more subtle.
Do you have a favorite Park Slope memory?
Moving here. I had gone through a bad break up – my girlfriend at the time and I did a dumb thing and moved in together too early – classic lesbianism – and four days after we moved in together, she decided to break up with me. I thought – maybe you could have told me five days ago? I had already broken my lease and sold everything I owned from my old apartment, so I had to couch surf for a couple of months. When I heard about this place in Park Slope opening up, I jumped on it. For the first couple of weeks, I slept on the floor with Zeke [Ingrid’s husky mix] in an empty apartment, but I woke up elated every morning because I had my own beautiful place in my dream neighborhood.
Photos credit Ed Barnes.