Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt are “Disengaged”

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Super Deluxe‘s new series Disengaged follows the engagement of Sydney (series co-creator and writer Jen Tullock) and Jules (co-creator, writer and director Hannah Pearl Utt) after they give in to the pressures of getting married following the Supreme Court decision to legalize marriage equality. The pilot premiered this past December, and now more episodes will launch on their YouTube channel this Sunday.

We chatted with Jen and Hannah about how the series came to fruition, the new pressure same-sex couples have on them to get married, and their collaborative partnership of 10 years.

AfterEllen: So where did the idea of creating this series about two women being engaged stem from?

Jen Tullock: Well, I think it was two-fold, actually. I think it was inspired by true-to-life codependent experiences Hannah and I have both had in past relationships and with each other as friends and business partners. In a series of conversations we have had over the years as friends, we found that if there was a through line in our past relationships, it was severe co-dependency and oftentimes a competitive nature—even though, historically, my relationships have been with women and Hannah’s have been with men.

Hannah Pearl Utt: We got a real insight into the marriage industrial complex and the wedding industrial complex.

JT: We’ve had a lot of people tell us that they saw themselves in the pilot and the issue of feeling pressured to get married. People have also told us that their rushed or pressured decision to get married ended in divorce. On the flip side, we have many happily married friends who we love and hope see themselves in aspects of the show as well.

HPU: There were so many aspects of Jen’s relationship with women that were totally unique to two women cohabitating and sharing friends, that we just thought were great opportunities for comedy that we hadn’t seen before.

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AE: Do you think that there are LGBT couples out there that are feeling pressured to get married now that it’s legal?

JT: Oh 100%. When you are compartmentalized as a minority, not just a minority but a social minority, where you are campaigning for something, there is absolutely an applied pressure to do the socially responsible thing.

HPU: We’ve had a lot of people tell us that they have watched the pilot and told us that they have felt the same type of pressure to get married when same-sex marriage was legalized. There are people who have also told us they are already divorced because they simply got married to take a stand, but on the other side of that, we have several friends who are very happily married.

JT: We certainly didn’t want this to be a thing where we are saying we don’t agree with marriage, but the heart of the piece was that regardless of the exterior circumstances of a relationship, it’s something you have to think very critically about.

HPU: Also, no convention makes sense for all types of relationships. Just like not all education makes sense for every child, marriage isn’t the right format for all relationships.

JT:  When you talk about queer television and queer cinema, we see an attempt to bring the story lines to the front, but oftentimes, we then canonize or idealize these relationships to say “Oh, look! Queer people are just like everyone else.” And the truth is yes,we are varied and nuanced and can be fucked up.

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