July 12 2016 03:05 PM

Artist Ash Eliza Smith and writer Kim-Anh Schreiber team up for new web series that celebrates and satirizes So-Cal culture

Ash Eliza Smith and Kim-Anh Schreiber
Photo courtesy of Hysterical Accuracy

Ash Eliza Smith and Kim-Anh Schreiber are reluctant to divulge many details or plot points about their new web series, Candy Ego. The writer and artist duo, who are working under the collective name Hysterical Accuracy have just finished penning five episodes and still aren't sure whether they'll cast themselves as the show's two female protagonists. Still, they do seem to have a good sense of the art of the pitch.

"The way I've been describing it to people is that two researchers are working at this large institution and they slowly and haphazardly unravel this enormous conspiracy that involves raving teenagers and pizza-eating cults," Schreiber says. "We had this line we were kicking around for a while where everything is falling apart and one of the characters says, 'Let's just go to the beach.'"

"Yeah, let's just go eat fish tacos," Smith adds with a giggle.

Smith and Schreiber both work at UC San Diego, but actually met in New York City before reuniting at UCSD. The two started talking about what would eventually become Candy Ego two years ago after bonding over comedic shows such as Broad City and Be Here Nowish, as well as noir-inspired icons such as director David Lynch and writer Raymond Chandler. Schreiber says they channel these myriad influences within their own show, which is set in the fictional burg of Santek Beach, a "seaside city known for its biotech hubs, military zones and cafe-owning cults." Describing it as a "sci-fi-noir comedy," Smith is quick to point out that Candy Ego is foremost a dark comedy with strong satirical elements.

"It's a celebration and a satire of San Diego at the same time," Smith says. "There's enough complexity to the characters that it's not poking fun at them all the time."

Schreiber adds that the noir aspects of the show are equally noticeable and references the opening shot of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive as a particularly poignant influence.

"The camera's moving over these palm trees and you just know that something is wrong, but you don't know what it is, because, well, there's these beautiful palm trees," Schreiber says.

The duo plans to release the initial five-episode season in early 2017 and will likely launch a crowdfunding campaign in the next few months. They've set up a Facebook page for the project and recently finished the first round of casting.

"One of the people auditioning, she's adorable and on her resume, she says she does monster voices which I'm very excited about," says Smith, laughing. "She has that as one of her skills!"

Schreiber can't help but laugh before adding, "Yeah, so it may be a sci-fi-noir comedy, but with monster voices."

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