“Anyone But Me” examines post-9/11 teens — including a young lesbian couple (Episode 1)

Not living in New York City, I don’t think much about the long-term effects of 9/11 on its residents. But a new web series called Anyone But Me brings awareness of the challenges of growing up in a generation that doesn’t remember life pre-9/11. The first episode premiered Monday on Strike TV (thanks to Kate Clinton for the link).

Lesbian writer/creator Tina Cesa Ward blogs about her motivation for creating Anyone But Me:

… many of the kids in New York have grown up not knowing the city any other way than it is now. They may think nothing about the See something, Say something ads. Or the frequent bag searches or even the occasional armed military security on the streets. This is the world they’ve always known. I felt sad about that for a time, but then I realized they can’t mourn what they don’t know they’ve lost. So exploring this theme intrigued me a great deal.

Susan Miller, the “one-breasted, Jewish, bisexual lesbian mom” who won an Obie Award for My Left Breast and is a writer/producer for The L Word, is co-creator of the web series.

The story opens as 16-year-old Vivian McMillan (Rachael Hip-Flores) breaks the news to her girlfriend, Aster (Nicole Pacent), that she’s leaving NYC. Vivian’s dad, Gabe (Dan Via), is a firefighter with respiratory problems resulting from being a part of the 9/11 rescue effort. Gabe’s health has forced him to retire, so he and Vivian are moving to Westchester to start over. Unfortunately, that means Vivian has to be separated from the love of her life.

Here’s the trailer:

Ward and Miller also explore the many levels of coming out. Vivian is comfortable with her sexuality, but in a new high school and a new neighborhood, she essentially has to come out over and over.

Although the first episode mostly was setup for the story, I was glad to see the relationship between Vivian and Aster treated as a non-issue. Vivian kissed Aster goodbye with her dad waiting in the car without as much as a glance back to see if Gabe was watching. And the chemistry between the two girls is undeniable. I like both of the actresses a lot, too. I especially love Hip-Flores’ voice.

Watch the first episode of Anyone But Me and let us know what you think. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing more.

Anyone But Me: Episode 1 “Heavy”

Editor’s note: Starting next week, we’ll be running this as a video series on AfterEllen.com, so look for the second episode here on Monday.