'Stupid Cupid' examines finding what you need in the world of dating apps
August 25, 2021
Anyone who has ever struggled with online dating and invested time in searching for their person will relate to Stupid Cupid. The show, which is chock-full of bad dating experiences, is about a group of friends trying to create a dating app that "matches you with who it knows you need, not what you think you want."
It’s a clever hook in a world of endless scrolling (and often endless bad decisions). The group behind the show is a crew of actors and filmmakers who have long been friends in real life. In fact, creators Sarah Randall Hunt and Yaroslav Altunin are themselves a couple, finding love after years of friendship. Before their love was discovered, Hunt went on myriad bad dates.
"I wanted a vehicle for all the hilarious bad dates I’d been on," she said.
"The great stories I’d share ... and people would all laugh and then share their bad date stories. Everybody has some sort of story. I was really frustrated that the world didn’t have a new version of Friends, a new show that reflected my own group of friends that are diverse and of various sexual orientations and interests and are looking for very different things on the apps. I thought it was an interesting dynamic to explore; traditional dating and the way we are doing it now."
Hunt also found the wealth of bad-date stories to be endless.
"Trying to write them all down, truth is definitely stranger than fiction," she said.
Altunin continued: "All the dates you see on the show are real."
Hunt’s favorite date is featured in episode 3.
"A friend of mine went on a date with a woman, and the gal propositioned him in the car for a sexual transaction in exchange for a purse. He declined, but on the way to dinner she asked to stop at CVS, and she robbed CVS. After that he said, 'I don’t know if we should go to dinner' and she walked off. I could go on!"
Watching the date as a web series episode is gratifying for both the dater and the audience alike, but one wonders if there is success for any of Stupid Cupid’s users. Hunt hints at some happy endings.
"We don’t want to spoil it. Everyone kind of finds their own version of success. The idea was always to address the fact that we do carry with us different perceptions when we date. We also carry the traumas we’ve experienced. In dating we may think, ‘I need this,’ but even if you don’t really want it, and sometimes weird situations kind of actually turn out very nicely. We also wanted to encompass the fact that it’s okay to date the same sex, or a trans person, or go on a double date. There is no wrong way to date," she aptly mused, noting her own failures served as fuel.
"It was my experience when dating that the algorithm was built for you to fail. I think the apps can get in the way of us really connecting. It can feel super existential sometimes, the endless amounts of swipes. Every person you meet teaches you something about what you do or don’t want, or what you might be needing to learn from another person," she said.
Hunt and Altunin learned so much about each other as people making the series together, strengthening their own relationship. Hunt credits the series partially for their success in love.
"If you can survive creating a web series together, you are doing okay," she said.
Altunin agreed: "Making the show was a very emotional and primal experience. It was kind of a war zone. We learned a lot, not just about filmmaking, but about how far we can push ourselves. We shot the whole thing in a week."
As Stupid Cupid premieres at DANCES WITH FILMS on Saturday Aug. 28, 2021, it is also about to debut on NYC Media as the crew ponders a second season. Ultimately, Hunt hopes audiences take away not only laughter from the show but a bit of a lesson.
"I hope people become more willing to make less of a snap judgment, and to try to respond to the person sitting in front of them," she said.
Altunin agrees: "Love is all about communication. You can’t communicate too much. But honestly, with dating apps I think you just have to go for it."
To learn more about how the Stupid Cupid crew is going for it (and to find camaraderie in the online dating game), check out their website.
Written by: Lindsay StidhamLindsay holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. She has overseen two scripts from script to screen as a writer/ producer. SPOONER, starring Matthew Lillard (SLAMDANCE), and DOUCHEBAG (SUNDANCE) both released theatrically. Most recently Lindsay sold PLAY NICE starring Mary Lynn Rajskub. The series was distributed on Hulu. Recent directing endeavors include the Walla Walla premiering (and best screenplay nominated) TIL DEATH DO US PART, and the music video for Bible Belt’s Tomorrow All Today. Lindsay is currently working on an interactive romcom for the production company Effin' Funny, and a feature film script for Smarty Pants Pictures. Lindsay also currently works as an Adjunct Screenwriting Faculty member at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. You can follow her work here: https://lindsaystidham.onfabrik.com/