Inspired to come up with a platform for a kind of character she felt was absent on the screen, Issa Rae launched YouTube series "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" in February of 2011. With the help of collaborators, Rae writes, directs, produces and stars in the story of J, the self-described "awkward and black" protagonist working at a call center for a weight-loss pill company named Gutbusters.
The web series became a viral hit, generating both internet and media attention and allowing Rae to fund additional episodes via a Kickstarter campaign. So the news is both welcome and not entirely unexpected that Rae has sold a half-hour comedy entitled "I Hate L.A. Dudes" to ABC — and that she's working with "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes, who has been a major force in getting more characters of color onto network television via her medical drama and its spin-of "Private Practice" as well as her newest series "Scandal."
Deadline reports that "I Hate LA Dudes" is one of two projects Rimes' Shondaland production company has sold to ABC, the other being "The Mix," a comedic drama written by John Hoffman and set behind the scenes at a morning talk show hosted by five women.
According to the site, "I Hate L.A. Dudes" is about a would-be journalist who moves to Los Angeles and ends up the sole female working at a male-driven web talk show. While learning how to navigate this work environment, she also has to figure out the L.A. dating scene. When "Girls" was generating some heated discussion because of its primarily white cast, "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" was often raised as a counterexample of a series that ventured into some similar thematic territory with a more diverse cast and viewpoint. It'll be interesting to see what comes of this deal, and whether the audiences who felt "Girls" came close to their own experience while still excluding them will finally be given something to latch on to.
Check out the first episode of "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" below.