Setup Squad, a docu-reality series following Wings, Inc., a dating agency based in New York City that provides professional wingmen and women for hapless single folks who need a gentle kick in the ass in the dating department, premieres Monday on Logo. AfterEllen.com chats with lesbian cast member Meredith Schlosser about the show and picks her brain on how to navigate the chaotic singles scene. Plus, we ask her how she would help guide our favorite television characters and personalities in the dating world.
Photo by Meagan Cignoli
AfterEllen.com: Can you tell me briefly what the Setup Squad is about?
Meredith Schlosser: Setup Squad is about Wings, Inc., which is a dating service company in New York City owned by my friend Renee with a staff made up of gay and straight people who help clients become better daters. It’s kind of a mix of being life coaches, matchmakers, and dating counselors.
AE: How did you end up being on the show?
MS: I was introduced by a friend of a friend to Renee, the owner, and we clicked. I started helping her out on the side matching people up for fun while working in real estate. Wings, Inc. was like a hobby in a way. Then I ended up being introduced to the producers and directors who were doing the show about Wings, Inc. and then everything just took off from there.
AE: What’s been your experience in matchmaking? Have you set up your friends in real life?
MS: Yes, I’ve set up my people my entire life. And so many people have told me, “You’ve done this for me and for that person. Why don’t you just do this on the side?” I was even thinking about starting my own [matchmaking] business, and then, long story short, this thing just kind of happened with Wings, Inc.
AE: I’ve set up a bunch of my friends in real life and each time it generally starts out great but ends up quickly devolving into chaos and tragedy and then I’m persona non grata. Have you ever gotten into trouble for setting people up who end up not working out?
MS: I’ve had successful things happen and obviously, sometimes things don’t work out. It’s definitely not a perfect world!
AE: Any of your real life setups ended up with a happy ending?
MS: Yes, and here’s one story. A couple I set up years ago in college broke up and then they got back together. Then they got married, and now they have a child. There may be misery on the train ride along the way, but there are happy endings!
AE: I’ve seen the pilot episode. One of your coworkers, Jonathan, is gay man whose winging style is building up his clients’ confidence through positive reinforcement and a bit of sweet talk. We don’t see much of you in the pilot episode, so how would you describe your winging style?
MS: I do come across as quiet in the pilot episode, and I was a little camera shy at first. The rest of the cast is made up of models, actors, and comedians, so they were used
to being on camera. And my friends were like, “How did you come across as quiet? How is that even possible? We wouldn’t even be able to shut you up with a roll of duct tape!” As the season progresses, my personality comes out a lot more when I am working with clients.
My winging style – I do build up people’s confidence, and I also do a bit of sweet talking as well, but I am also very direct. I’m honest, and I get to the point. I don’t try to sugarcoat everything. I say what I feel – and I think that’s my strength. My goal is to work with people and help them get them one step further, one step closer to where they want to be.
You’ll see that some of my clients in further episodes have severe anxiety, even with simple conversations. My approach is that tell them, really, what do you have to lose? Be yourself. People are either going to love you or they’re going to hate you, and that’s sort of my attitude.
AE: In the pilot episode, conflicts already arise between certain members of the cast, and it looks like during the course of the season there’s only going to be even more drama. As much as people pretend to be indignant and claim to be above it all, people love watching drama unfold on television. Will viewers be disappointed, or will there be enough drama in Setup Squad to rival that of a daytime soap opera?
MS: Let me just say that there’s more than enough drama in the season, and you don’t need to worry about waking up on a pillow covered in drool or anything from boredom! Everyone gets on everyone’s nerves. It’s a company dynamic, and while there’s healthy competition between everybody, everyone has their own opinions and they’re very strong. Everyone has their own issues in their personal lives and their personal relationships. All of our bad laundry will be aired, whether we like it or not.
AE: The lesbian scene has its particular idiosyncrasies and annoyances, such as the possibility of running into exes while out and the double estrogen factor, which can lead to a whole host of ridiculous situations. What do you think is the biggest obstacle in the lesbian dating world?
MS: The double estrogen factor. My girlfriend and I were just talking about that the other day. Everyone wants love, marriage and all that. Ok, I wouldn’t say everybody but many if not most people eventually want all that. But I think that one of the biggest challenges in the lesbian world is that I find that lesbians want that right away.
AE: Ahem! Insert U-Haul joke here.
MS: Exactly! My friends in particular go out to dinner and right away they are overanalyzing every single conversation, even if it was just lunch or a quick breakfast or a walk in the park. Then you bring in social media and texting and all of that and that brings all of it to another level. I think that lesbians can be just so intense and sometimes they just don’t know how to slow it down. Like if this one person doesn’t work out they are never going to find love, and a lot of people – and I’m also speaking for myself – I’ve been burned, so I know. And when they get burned, they feel it’s impossible to meet anybody else. They want that love story, and I think it would help if they could step back and just slow it down.