Zeitgeist | Imaginary Bitches (A Review)

ib-poster Choosing to remain single in a coupled world is sometimes a lonely gig, never more so than when all of your close friends are smugly cocooned in their couple-bubbles. It can make you feel like the last single person on Earth.

As once-single friends morph into couples, it often becomes irritatingly apparent that they no longer understand the challenges or  perspectives of singledom. You sometimes feel like hitting them over the head, yet you still love them and yearn for common ground to maintain your friendships. This painful conflict is played out to hilarious effect in the engaging Web series Imaginary Bitches.

Eden is the last single girl in her circle of friends, refusing to compromise her standards simply to have a boyfriend. After an amazing date with a guy she really likes, Eden calls each of her friends to share her exciting news, but they’re only interested in talking about their relationships. Increasingly dispirited with each aborted call, Eden discovers, to her astonishment, that she has conjured an imaginary friend named Catherine—a friend who’s avidly interested in discussing all the details of Eden’s date.

But Catherine proves to be less a “friend” than a total bitch, with something nasty to say about Eden and all of her real girlfriends. That’s right, Eden herself is not exempt from Catherine’s bitchiness. Furthermore, Catherine is soon joined by a second imaginary bitch named Heather. The imaginary bitches quickly establish their presence in all of Eden’s relationships, leaving her to deal with the fallout even as they help her sort out her friendships and her love life.

It’s Sex and the City meets Ally McBeal—except that Eden (played by Emmy award-winner Eden Riegel of All My Children and Year One) is the only one who can see the imaginary bitches. Eden delivers all of the bitches’ lines, parrying her real girlfriends’ careless cruelties with a brutal honesty offset by a disarming sweetness and genuine dismay. It’s the best of both worlds: total honesty without consequences.

eden-heather When Eden’s real girlfriend, Brooke, hangs out with Eden and the imaginary bitches, Brooke asks what the bitches are saying about her. Eden replies, “Catherine is saying that you’re a fat, selfish bitch who likes me being single because it makes you feel superior . . . But Heather thinks you’re pretty. Sexy, in fact. And that if [your boyfriend] is amazing enough to abandon your best friend for, then she’d like to take him for a spin. Like, have sex with him.”

Eden’s real girlfriends eventually band together to stage a coup against the imaginary bitches, eagerly informing Eden that they’re going to get her a boyfriend “so you can be one of us!” But Eden hesitates, saying that Heather thinks Eden’s friends “sound like body-snatching aliens, and that the boyfriend is a plot to turn me into a relationship pod-person.” The real girlfriends wonder if imaginary bitches can have boyfriends, and discover that yes, imaginary bitches can, but “different kinds of boyfriends than you guys have—not losers.”

Through all the casual and deliberate indignities that Eden suffers—from being excluded from couples dinner parties, to going on blind dates, to trying to cultivate new single friends—Imaginary Bitches is a fun, catty look at being single in a coupled world. Season One is available on DVD, as well as on the show’s website and on YouTube. You can watch all 13 episodes in less than 90 minutes.

The following episode (“A Spiritual Bitch-Bath”) shows the tart and tangy flavor of the series. The imaginary bitches take it upon themselves to deal with the “pseudo-spiritual psychopath” who stole Eden’s previous boyfriend. Which makes us wonder: Are the bitches really imaginary? Or simply invisible to the non-psychotic?

My own imaginary bitches are telling me to shut up and watch the episode!

Bitch back in the comments.

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I'm an occasional contributor to Zeitgeist: Quirkyalone Pop Culture. Zeitgeist explores how pop culture reflects us back to ourselves—in ways funny, interesting, frivolous and profound. I’m a committed quirkyalone and a pop culture addict who should probably be committed. Pop culture is my hometown, the street where I live, the air that I breathe. It’s where new ideas, fascinating people, trends, and innovation, meet the movies I love (new and classic), the TV I watch (from 30 Rock to Weeds), the Internet I haunt (from Perez Hilton to Salon), and the pile of magazines I read regularly (from The Atlantic to Wired to New York magazine). Professionally, I'm a storyteller, media maven and entrepreneur—the owner of WanderNot, Inc., a Bay Area creative communications company. I also write personal essays, feature articles and profiles, as well as the weekly blog Writer Vixen Explains It All. Quirkyalone Status: Currently happily single and happily open to quirkytogetherness.

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Posted in Books + Movies, Dating, Friendship, Movies, Relationships, Single Life
8 comments on “Zeitgeist | Imaginary Bitches (A Review)
  1. Onely says:

    That was pretty good–I liked the fact that the bitches were not visible. That made it more realistic. I definitely have my own bitches, but I did not realize they were actualy separate spiritual entities from me. Now that I know that, I feel much better about my karma.

    Why does everyone in TV yoga classes have cute yoga outfits? In real life I wear a sweaty grey tank top and pilly black pants. Is this why I have not yet mastered the Crow?
    CC

    • I agree that we’re definitely not responsible for the karma of those who choose to hang out with us, visible or not. We can’t help it that we’re so much fun that we attract friends everywhere we go.

      Am I right? ;)

  2. What a great post! And thanks for the head’s up on such an interesting series. I think that these women (real or not) deserve a voice regarding the plight of the single person- thanks for helping us find more resources about this important topic!

    • Thanks Tamara. Hopefully there will be a second season.

      The creators are in talks to bring it to network television (which sounds good but might be a huge mistake creatively) and are also exploring the premise as a feature film (which could be fabulous). Guess we’ll just have to stay tuned. ;)

  3. Simone Grant says:

    Excellent tip. Thanks so much for the post. I just love the way they dealt with the real issues of single women and kept it funny.

    • Thanks Simone. The whole premise just cracks me up — mostly because I kept having these surreal moments of OMG, did she really just say that??. It’s especially hilarious how all the people around Eden begin interacting with the bitches as though they’re real, even though no one else can actually see them. It just keeps you laughing and shaking your head. ;)

  4. Julia says:

    This series is not at all funny with its message that single women are so pathetic that they end up talking to themselves.

    • I understand your point of view, but disagree about your interpretation of the message.

      In fact, that’s the exact attitude that the series skewers so cleverly — the assumption that singledom is somehow a problem to be solved. Imaginary Bitches actually uses the devices of magical realism to turn that point of view on its head.

      In hindsight, the clip I chose doesn’t actually show Eden herself interacting with the bitches . . . so I may have done the series a disservice, if that’s the only episode you’ve seen.

      Just my opinion. ;)

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