Directed by Tim Rosenman
New York, NY
When childhood friends Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky and Jonathan Sollis conceived of a mock “reality show” about “Two girls from Orlando with dreams of making it in the big city,” it was an obvious choice to cast… themselves as RACHEL and JOANNA.
As New York natives, both Ostrovsky and Sollis are postmodern Dadaists of sorts – utilizing comedy, social media (Ostrovsky alone has over 2.5 million followers on Instagram) and sartorial absurdity to underscore the city’s manifold contradictions and minor injustices.
In GIRLHATTAN, Ostrovsky and Sollis target the Public Relations & Fashion industries, casting themselves as wholly unfashionable, socially inane, “new girls” who sneak through a leading firm’s “backdoor” vise a vie a reluctantly enforced “diversity” clause. Despite their being antithetical to otherwise glaring industry standards of perfection, the girls' plucky sense of entitlement, hyperbolic “branded” materialism, and self-serving transparency reflect greater social truths about “making it” in New York; the cut throaty-ness of it, its selfishness, and its inherent apathy.
Such distinctions could not be made clearer without casting the ultimate archetypes to play counterpoint to utterly inept Rachel and Joanna. ALEXIA (Sonja Mauro) and ASPEN (Lauren De Niro-Pipher) play seasoned employees tasked with training the unlikely duo at Madison Harding Public Relations.
What ensues is very much an extension of both Ostrovsky’s and Sollis’s penchant for sketch comedy, replete with hyperbolic plotlines hinging on the absurd-yet-often-accurate representations of living and working in hypercompetitive Manhattan.