Behind the Scenes of “Exes & Ohs”

 
 

For Megan Cavanagh, who has been acting professionally for more than 15 years, playing the role of an out lesbian is especially meaningful. "I did this show partly because I am an out lesbian," she said. "I am so happy to be playing an out lesbian in a show, I'm just grinning from ear to ear all the time."

Her role provides additional laughs for her partner and friends in real life. "I don't think I'm butch compared to any of the other butch women I know. But in terms of the other girls in the show, I'm playing 'butch.' Which is of great hilarity to my butch friends."

She continued with a laugh: "My [real-life] partner identifies as butch; to see us together it's obvious that she's butch and I'm femme in those paradigms. And I'm older, so I guess we do do those paradigms."

Out filmmaker Lee Friedlander said of the characters on Exes & Ohs: "You can relate to them; they feel like your group of friends. … It's nice to see us on television."

Alton, Featherstone and Cavanagh all sang high praises about the quality of the writing that Michelle Paradise delivered for this series. Paradise was a very busy woman, working as actor, writer and co-executive producer on Exes & Ohs. She said there were times during the production when she would stop for a moment in wonder at the fact that what had begun with her writing in a San Francisco café had turned into a television series with an amazing cast and crew.

"I would stop for a moment," she said, "stop being the actor or the writer or the producer, and I would just get to be a person standing in this world and say: 'This is really cool. People are going to get to see this, and people are going to get to see themselves in the characters; it's going to be out there.'"

Heather Matarazzo thinks Exes & Ohs is important because it provides an opportunity for lesbians and gays to laugh. "The issues we tackle and the subject matter we present to the audience is done in a very light-hearted way," she said, "not being dismissive, but that it's OK. We don't have to take ourselves so seriously all the time."

It's clear that the cast enjoyed a light-hearted camaraderie with each other — even in the midst of filming a skeet-shooting scene outside in Vancouver on a chilly winter day. "They told us, 'It doesn't snow in Vancouver; you'll be fine!'" Friedlander recalled. "Then they had the biggest blizzard in 30 years!"

Not prepared for such weather, but professionals all, they carried on, creating a humorous moment that many named as their favorite from shooting the series.

Cavanagh — whose character is the one who goes skeet shooting — and the crew bundled up in heavy coats and made necessary adjustments due to the snow and cold. "They put the battery pack for my mic on my head under my hat," Cavanagh said, "so I was worried about moving my head, because I thought the mic would come out."

Angela Featherstone added, "Megan looked so friggin' cute with a little Elmer Fudd hat on."

Friedlander also recalled the funny attempts to get a bird to land on Michelle Paradise's head during a scene on a yacht in the first episode. "Some of my favorite moments were the unexpected," she said.

Both Friedlander and Paradise hope that Exes & Ohs is renewed for subsequent seasons, partly so that they can continue to tell the stories of the main characters but also to explore the stories of additional characters that they weren't able to include in the first season's six episodes. As Friedlander said, "We've got to get picked up for a second season, so I can see what happens!"

Exes & Ohs premieres on Logo on Monday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. ET, and it is also available for download on iTunes. Go to LOGOonline.com for more information.

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