Flunk is an Aussie teen drama filmed in Melbourne and set in a country high school. The first 10 episodes on YouTube are very hetero-normative, focusing on characters Stella and Ed, However, everything changes in episode 11, when Stella’s best friend Ingrid takes centre stage.
Ingrid comes from a very conservative Chinese-Australian family and she’s the studious, responsible and obedient 16-year-old you’d expect her to be. She also happens to be secretly in love with Stella.
Image: Things get complicated between best friends Ingrid (Jessica Li) and Stella (Akasha Collins) courtesy of Lilydale Films
The rest of the series follows Ingrid’s journey as she explores her sexuality and deals with the pressure and complications that soon build in a very unsupportive environment.
Forster has developed complicated characters with powerful, nuanced storylines. Ingrid’s journey is intense, gripping and at times deeply painful to watch. Actress Jessica Li shines from episode 11, bringing heartbreaking authenticity to the emotional rollercoaster ride.
As current as the show is – privacy is an issue when everyone has a mobile phone and is used to oversharing on social media, issues of consent are dealt with and the shadow of the #MeToo movement looms large - it also has a timeless quality to it.
I have to say that this web series has captivated me. I watched it in the 5 minute YouTube format, but you can get 6 half hour episodes on Vimeo instead. It's created by Ric Forster, who has worked on Neighbours and British soap Hollyoaks and produced by Melanie Rowland, who produced teen drama series LOL and worked in the production office for LGBT movie Holding The Man. You can see the duo's professionalism and experience as the production values are very high.
Whilst Flunk is very much a slice of Aussie life, Ingrid’s coming of age story is resonating with LGBT people everywhere. The show has over 2.4 million views on YouTube and has released its own line of merch.
And I think there will be quite a few fans for a young actress called Kelsie Schulz, who casually walks in to episode 26 and changes everything. I'm joining the list of viewers of who can't wait to see where this storyline is heading.