Lilly Wachowski discussed her upcoming Showtime comedy series “Work In Progress” at the network’s Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, alongside the show’s creators Abby McEnany and Tim Mason, and tackling the series’ central themes of mental illness and depression.
“I think comedy and humor are essential ingredients in trying to overcome mental illness and depression,” Wachowski said after being asked about the show’s central character (played by McEnany). “I certainly have had my own journey and being able to laugh requires engaging in a conversation with yourself and with the world around you and to try to look at things in a different way. I think that’s hugely important in the dialogue.”
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Wachowski went on to discuss her transition a little and expressed her belief that putting a trans person or a queer character in TV is a “revolutionary act,” simply because “you don’t see characters like this on TV.”
“Being able to engage in this dialogue about queerness and transness and all of these issues like fat phobia and ageism and mental illness, it’s super important to get these messages out there,” the “Matrix” director added.
The series, which Wachowski is co-writing and executive producing, was created by comedian McEnany and Tim Mason, and premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
McEnany revealed how personal the series is to her and how similar the main character and she are.
“I have had times of massive depression and I want to be very clear the it’s not just the person suffering from the depression that’s suffering…it’s the people around her that love her and want to help her too,” McEnany said.
“Work In Progress” is described as a funny and “uniquely human” comedy, which features McEnany as a 45-year-old self-identified “fat, queer” woman from Chicago whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship. Chicago-based performers Theo Germaine and Karin Anglin co-star alongside Celeste Pechous, with “SNL” alumna Julia Sweeney also appearing as herself.
McEnany, a mainstay of the Chicago improv scene, based the series on her one-woman shows. She serves as an EP on the show alongside Mason, Lawrence Mattis, Ashley Berns and Josh Adler of Circle of Confusion, as well as Tony Hernandez of JAX Media.