With the end of Girls, it feels like prime time to find the next voice of our generation. Or, you know, a voice, of a generation. Girls premiered on HBO five years ago, and immediately drew Sex and the City comparisons. But it’s 2017. A half-hour scripted dramedy on prestige cable isn’t exactly the best way to get the Snapchat crowd’s attention. But a short web series, made up of five-minute improvised snippets, launched by an already established social media star with a Hollywood pedigree? Nailed it.
Enter Cazzie David, the 22-year-old daughter of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David. Her new series, Eighty-Sixed, premieres April 18 on Complex, and feels a bit like Curb for millennials. Like her dad’s show, which returns after a six-year hiatus later this year, Cazzie's takes place in a privileged Los Angeles bubble where neuroses and awkward social interactions feature heavily. But the ways in which Cazzie’s character Remi navigates all that anxiety has more to do with drones, Instagram, and pregame-party photo faux pas.
Throughout the four episodes, we watch Remi dealing with the immediate aftermath of a breakup. Getting dumped, to be more specific. From lying in bed and googling how Stacy Keibler is doing after George Clooney left her for Amal, to obsessing over just how tight her ex’s new girlfriend’s vagina is, Remi wears her desperation like a loose garment. She isn’t hiding anything. She’s raw. She’ll stand in the kitchen alone during a party, nursing a cocktail. When she wants to leave the party, she’ll say so. When her creepy neighbors spy on her with their drone, she’ll destroy it with her bare hands. She will wear pajamas all day. She’s not here to impress you. And we’re seriously impressed.
There’s a cringe-worthy element to a lot of Cazzie’s writing — it will feel familiar to any Girls or Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. When Remi overhears that an acquaintance’s mother just got diagnosed with cancer, her affect stays flat, and she feels no need to offer condolences or express any sympathy. It’s almost soothing to see a character who isn’t faking their feelings, or acting enthusiastic when they don’t actually feel anything. Isn’t this how we are in real life? When we post all those smiley-face emoji and prayer hands on our friends’ feeds, are we actually smiling and praying IRL? Doubtful.
For now, Cazzie isn’t embracing the spotlight or going on auditions. Her boyfriend, Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, keeps a similarly casual low profile. She does interviews via email, her preferred medium for press, although we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of her soon. Our chat with Cazzie, below.
How would you describe Remi's world in L.A. — is it realistic?
"The tone is somewhat realistic. It’s all from Remi’s hypersensitive perspective where she only hears the absolute worst, and if she doesn’t hear it, she imagines it."
Are those your real-life friends, playing the BFFs in episodes 1, 2, and 3?
"They are! Everyone who’s in it are people I know who didn’t refuse to be in it. Most of us (me included) have never acted before and now possibly may never act again. The twins in the fourth episode are my second cousins."
How similar are you to Remi?
"We’re both anxious, but about different things. She’s anxious about social media and what her ex thinks. I worry about stuff like getting sick, home invasions, and how animals are in pain but can’t tell anyone."
Was the series mostly scripted or mostly improvised?
"It was a little bit of both. Scripted for the most part. There’s one scene in the third episode where Owen and I see the picture that was taken of us on the couch. We were supposed to say how cute it was, but it was genuinely such an unattractive photo that we just started laughing and I left that in."
How do you and [co-creator and co-writer] Elisa Kalani know each other?
"We lived on the same floor freshman year of college and bonded over hating everyone else. She’s the first person who’s never gotten on my nerves. Now we share a cat."
Instagram/Snapchat is like another character in the series — how much do you pay attention to social media?
"I’m not too obsessive over it. The use of it was more inspired by my younger sister’s age group. I mostly use it for posting the one photo I take a month and stalking really pretty people."
What is a typical day like for you?
"I work in between complaining. I put a great deal of effort into trying to convince Elisa to come over. I write. I watch MSNBC while I simultaneously read the news. After dinner I’m in my room for the night worrying about everything I saw on MSNBC."
Do you ever worry about accusations of nepotism? Why or why not?
"Never heard of it, especially not in the comment section of this article. I do think about it, but other than murdering my dad there’s not a lot I can do about it."
What are your favorite TV series?
"Scandal, Arrested Development, Girls, Curb, Veep, Gossip Girl, UnReal, Schitt’s Creek. I wish I could say something like The Crown because it would make me sound smarter, but I just can’t bring myself to watch it."
Who are your role models, and why?
"Hillary Clinton and Amal Clooney, for the obvious reasons."
What do you wish people knew about you that they probably don't?
"That I’m afraid of them."
What are you working on next?
"Hopefully more of these! If the humiliation is endurable."