Work in Progress is an American television comedy produced by Showtime that premiered on December 8, 2019. The series was created by Abby McEnany and Tim Mason, written and executive produced by McEnany, Mason, and Lilly Wachowski, and directed by Mason. Work in Progress stars McEnany in a semi-autobiographical role alongside Karin Anglin, Celeste Pechous, Julia Sweeney (as a fictionalized version of herself), and Theo Germaine. The entire series was written, filmed, and post-produced in Chicago, and has received positive reviews.
Episode title: “15, 14 (PT. 1)”
Release date: January 12, 2020 at 11pm
Cast: Abby McEnany, Karin Anglin, Celeste Pechous, Julia Sweeney, Theo Germaine
A self-identified “fat, queer dyke” enters into a transformative relationship during a time of crisis.
Michael Ognisanti served as the series cinematographer. Because the series is inspired by McEnany’s life, the challenge for Ognisanti was to capture the authenticity of the story in the look of the show. For this reason, filming took place in real locations, mostly night interiors, and for lighting they used practical light sources augmented with small LEDs, to avoid making it look artificial. Because of the improvisational style of acting, Ognisanti used two Arri Alexa Mini cameras, for a higher chance to capture unscripted moments that could not be recreated after the fact. The cameras were fitted with Zeiss Super Speed lenses. Ognisanti storyboarded the whole series based on input by Mason in Cinema 4D before they went to shoot on location.
Critical reception of Work in Progress has been positive. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator website, reported a 100% critical approval rating with an average rating of 7.89/10 based on 20 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “As radically hilarious as it is relatably uncomfortable, Work in Progress is a stunning debut from co-creator and star Abby McEnany.” On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the season is assigned a score of 78 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
Julia Sweeney is an American actress, comedian and author. She was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994. She played Mrs. Keeper in the film Stuart Little and voiced Brittany in Father of the Pride. She currently co-stars in the Hulu series Shrill and the Showtime series Work in Progress.
Sweeney was born in Spokane, Washington, the daughter of Robert Mark Sweeney and Jeraldine “Jeri” Sweeney (née Ivers). Her father was an attorney and federal prosecutor, while her mother was a homemaker. Sweeney has an Irish Catholic background. Sweeney is the oldest of five children. She had two brothers, William Robert “Bill” Sweeney, and Michael Ivers Sweeney, who both died, and a brother, Jim Sweeney, and a sister, Meg Sweeney.
Sweeney was raised in Spokane. As a child, she was drawn to imitating voices and inventing characters.
Sweeney attended Marycliff High School and Gonzaga Preparatory School, where she appeared in a number of plays. She graduated with a double major in economics and European history at the University of Washington, where she became a member of Delta Gamma sorority.
After graduation, Sweeney moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as an accountant for Columbia Pictures and United Artists.
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