Jake Hurwitz, UC Berkeley alumnus Amir Blumenfeld unleash ‘Lonely and Horny’

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“Lonely and Horny” is the newest project from Jake Hurwitz and Berkeley alumnus Amir Blumenfeld, creators of the Webby award-winning “Jake and Amir” and hosts of advice podcast “If I Were You.” It’s funny, full of heart and frighteningly relatable. The series is streaming exclusively on Vimeo On Demand and will be 10 episodes long with two episodes released Fridays.

The narrative showcases the duo at their best, with Blumenfeld as a wacky, unbelievably off-kilter character, and Hurwitz as a straight man to ground the absurdity. The cadence of the dialogue will feel familiar to fans of “Jake and Amir,” as if some of the lines could have been pulled from the original series and thrown into the “Lonely and Horny” script. Ideas and philosophies about dating that were only hinted at in “Jake and Amir” are brought to fruition. But this familiarity doesn’t feel like a lazy reversion to comfortable comedy, but rather a stylish, intentional choice to filter the world of dating through the creative lenses of Hurwitz and Blumenfeld. The insecurities — the overanalyzing, the rejection, the hopefulness — are all bundled into the character of Ruby Jade (Blumenfeld), who spends his days either on dates, in a classroom learning about dating or furiously swiping right on Tinder. But Ruby is more than a caricature of a typical 20-something male: He is its crystal-clear reflection.

The first episode opens with a typical scene at a bar, where Ruby is making conversation with his date. There’s chemistry between the two and everything seems normal; it is as if the viewer is watching from afar, possibly even intruding on what would look like an intimate moment in real life. A sharp cut slices the picturesque date in a jarring fashion to Josh Rice (Hurwitz) asking a classroom full of 20- and 30-year-old men if they got laid. The thematic center lives in this classroom space, as Ruby’s ultimate goal is to not only have sex, but also get the recognition from his peers and Josh. When the action return to the bar, the date begins to deteriorate: the sharply-dressed, slick-humored bar manager steps in and gains the approval of Ruby’s date while Ruby stumbles over his words in an attempt to win her back.

The narrative makes a subtle shift in the direction of the surreal from here on out. Ruby’s actions and dialogue are increasingly desperate, and his attempts at sleeping with women give way to his need to feel validated as an “eligible” bachelor. While the heightened stakes of dating makes the world of “Lonely and Horny” seem more unbelievable, it also draws the viewer in closer until they realize that they’re watching themselves. Ruby’s endless swiping, awful attempts at normal conversation, and obsession with learning the “rules” of dating reflect the insecurities, desperation, and search for meaning that everyone experiences when trying to find a match. The hyper-distillation of the dating world in “Lonely and Horny” holds a mirror up to the viewer, invoking the question “do I really act like that?” and answering it with an unequivocal “yes.”

The quality and depth of the series extends beyond the realm of just narrative: the show’s visuals look gorgeous. According to their recent Reddit AMA, Hurwitz and Blumenfeld were able to obtain an upgraded lens due to a mixup from the rental company, and with that equipment in the able hands of cinematographer Bobby Lam, they were able to create stunning visuals.The “Jake and Amir” web series had a campy, home-movie feel that slowly evolved into higher and higher definition, but “Lonely and Horny” is crisp from the start. The colors are rich and the deep parallax helps to highlight the action. And with such a dialogue-heavy program, the actor’s expressions and idiosyncrasies are that much clearer.

Though there have only been two episodes released so far, “Lonely and Horny” already gives brilliant insight into the dating world. It looks to be a series with the sly, subtle, and quirky humor with a big heart as the characters discover the futility of trying to date women “by the books.”  

Contact Sam Gunn at [email protected].