Self care has jumped to the forefront of our lives. Trapped in our homes without gyms, barre classes, or springtime hikes, it’s become more important and more challenging than ever to take care of our minds and bodies.

Some of us are battling expanding waistlines, and some are taking apart the internalized fatphobic narratives that stigmatize big waistlines in the first place. Some are honing our cooking and meal planning skills, some binging and purging instead. Some of us might be facing old personal demons that have flared up again during isolation.

BINGE Makes Us Look At Our Messiness

The pandemic is affecting our health in myriad ways, and a new series called BINGE puts this right in our faces. If you didn’t see the original pilot, released near the end of 2016,  BINGE was originally slated to become a web series about a woman with bulimia, which critics compared to Fleabag. It draws from the lived experience of series star and co-creator Angela Gulner.

“I was a real disaster to behold,” Gulner told Bustle at the time. But now COVID-19 has struck, puting us face to face with self care in new ways. And that’s given content creators like Gulner and her producing partners at Happy Little Guillotine Studios some extra time to work on new projects. In a way, COVID was just the right ingredient to push BINGE to the next level. 

Angela Gulner in BINGE

The original pilot was bold and unflinching in its treatment of the under-discussed issue of eating disorders. It asked us to look at our messiness. But the series’ new direction takes on added sophistication and complexity when the characters have nothing to do except stay home and eat, while filming themselves and each other.

It’s the perfect dark comedy electrical storm.

Facetime and Failed Sex Tapes Are the New Cinematography

The new episode of BINGE cleverly uses the character’s filming habits to drive the story and cinematography. Directed and co-created by Gulner’s writing partner, Yuri Baranovsky, it’s a mashup of vlog takes, facetime chats, and failed sex videos, all woven seamlessly through the narrative. Instead of polished cinema, it looks and feels like raw footage from a friend’s camera, but with the narrative pace and quick timing of smart comic filmmaking. Baranovsky and Director of Photography, Justin Mark Morrison, use clever flourishes to make the visuals feel raw in the right ways while editor Dashiell Reinhardt creates a pace that is both fun and foreboding.

Yuri Baranovsky and Angela Gulner, co-creators of BINGE

This also raises the question: how are we getting creative in isolation? Gulner and Baranovsky have managed to make some fiercely funny and truly bingeworthy content — without ever leaving home. Watching it I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘what am I creating? What can I create from this messy, kid-littered house?’

Creative productivity helps keep us sane. Seeing this pilot made me wonder if co-writing and starring in the series was part of how Gulner dealt with her own health during lockdown. So I decided to ask her.

Whether You’re the Filmmaker or the Audience, Staying Creative Helps to Stay Healthy

“The short answer is yes, absolutely,” Gulner told me in, appropriately, a video chat. “From the first production Zoom calls with Yuri, Justin, Dashiell and (co-star and co-producer) Daniela (DiIorio), to the actual filming itself, I think this whole thing, creating art, it’s been incredibly good for all of our mental health.” She says that although her eating disorder is now years behind her, she’s always looking to engage in activities that support her mental and physical well being. Those activities include filmmaking.

“Making the first series was how I moved on from the sad aftermath of recovery. I guess you could say this round is part of how I’m coping with isolation. But honestly this time around it’s even more fun.” She says the added challenges of non-traditional filming, using mobile devices and teamwork-from-home, throw a giddy kind of wrench into the filmmaking process. And she says with her eating disorder deeper in the past, it’s easier to laugh through it all. “I’m not processing those years so much anymore, so I can see the character as more of a character, more at arm’s length. Which I think helps with the gags, and the nastiness, but also with the compassion.”

Compassion is a key part of what makes BINGE work. The main character pushes the boundary between relatably flawed and dislikeably caustic. That’s part of the point, of course. She’s a character who hates herself and makes herself hard to love, pushing away the people who care for and support her. It’s a credit to Gulner and Baranovsky’s writing and the acting chops of both Angela and her co-star, Daniela DiIorio, who skillfully plays her plain-spoken BFF, Kate, that we can walk away from BINGE feeling compassion towards the trainwreck of a character.

A comedy series tackling eating disorders head on—that was interesting. But a series tackling eating disorders, made during quarantine for a quarantined audience—that’s genius. And it’s a little something to help us all laugh at whatever personal demons we might be stuck at home with.


  • Adryenn Ashley

    High tech priestess turned award winning author/producer, interested in future tech, global trends, and the here and now.

    Adryenn Ashley is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, and investor. As a Startup Advisor her advice is sought after, whether for her abilities to viralize a global conversation, or increase a company's revenue while streamlining costs. Her expertise ranges everywhere from breaking into banks (security testing in the 1990's), to being one of the first females in AI in the 2000's, giving Ashley decades of experience in navigating the bleeding edge of what's next. Having immersed herself in blockchain, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality, Ashley's newest disrupt, Loly, aims to reinvent the way people meet, mingle, and make magic online. Funding Loly through an ICO is what inspired the content for her newest book, Minting the Future (Spring 2019). Recently named the #1 Woman in Blockchain, Ashley speaks around the globe from small elite audiences to jam-packed convention centers, using her signature style of humor to break down complex technologies into understandable bites of must have knowledge. In addition to being a tech entrepreneur, Ashley is a best-selling author and award-winning filmmaker. In 2015, she skillfully turned fan engagement into #SocialTV profits with CrowdedTV, the world's first crowdfunding platform for broadcast television. Going a step further than just raising funds, CrowdedTV also recruited sponsorship and secured distribution. Using the CrowdedTV platform, Ashley's first show, Wake Up!, went from idea to national broadcast television in under four months, and is in pre-production for a second season, as well as development for their first 360 sitcom, and a crypto-centric comedy news show.