Web Series Wednesday – Feathers and Toast
By: Kathryn Trammell
What? Feathers and Toast
By: Turtle InAPartyDress
Who? Created and written by Mhairi Morrison. Co-created and co-produced by Holly Payberg. Stars Mhairi Morrison as Tallulah Grace, Diego Torroija as Diego “The Man Behind the Camera” (he is also the show’s cinematographer) and Tami Hillberry as Marjorie “Marge” (Season Two only).
Why Should I Watch?
Imagine, if you will, a young Betty White thinking up a crazy, brilliant idea to create a show like My Drunk Kitchen in which the show’s host (whom she would play) was an amalgamation of Julia Child, Harpo Marx and Millie Dillmount (Thoroughly Modern Millie). If you can picture that, then you might just be able to glimpse the hilarity and charm of Feathers and Toast. With the same comedic nuances that actresses like Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett employed to cloak sharply-pointed humor behind a veil of batted lashes, curse-cloaking terms of endearment and disarming poise and grace, so too does Feathers and Toast creator and actress Mhairi Morrison dip into a comedic art form that has dwindled in recent years yet is obviously far from lost.
But just as important as delivery, it’s the writing of this comedic style that is as well-tuned to Morrison’s strengths as she is to her character, Tallulah Grace. In its first season, the writing (and ingenious improvisation) of Feathers and Toast is comparable to sketches from “The Carol Burnett Show.” In this first season, we become acquainted with Tallulah Grace who decides to begin an online cooking show when a career in miming doesn’t pan out. Fortunately for her, cooking still offers ample opportunity for Tallulah to be performative. She doesn’t just teach her small pool of viewers to cook, she performs cooking, which is to say that a task as simple as opening a vacuum-sealed package of salmon is inspiration enough to evoke a body-waving surge of performance art. This performance aspect of Tallulah’s shows is enough to run her out of time, to throw her off course and to take her down tangents of thought from whence she is often unable to spring back. And these deviations often leave her meals undone, incomplete or completely unattempted. She cares not about cutting her fingers with sharp knives, but about chipping a nail. She cares not about using her bare hands to crush tomatoes or to handle the meat of an avocado, but she won’t so much as sprinkle a pinch of salt into her hands if they are covered with vintage white gloves. Eccentric doesn’t begin to describe Tallulah, but despite these eccentricities she is endearing – until she is asked to work with others.
When in Season Two Tallulah meets her new producer, Hollster (who insists on being at the filming of her show), Tallulah is convinced she needs to begin collaborating with other people in order to increase her views and subscribers. It is at this point that the writing of Feathers and Toast graduates from “The Carol Burnett Show” to “French and Sauders.” By herself, Morrison’s brand of comedy is a tour de force, but when given the chance to play off other actors the performative aspects of her comedy become impressively reactionary and Morrison’s humor thrives. Because when a woman like Tallulah Grace is asked to share her show with a fan, a fellow mime, a French showgirl and even a cat, we can expect the reaction to be as congenial as Edina and Patsy (Absolutely Fabulous) facing an alcohol shortage.
Although the series itself is extraordinarily hilarious, it’s the culture that Morrison and co-producer Holly Payberg have created around the show that is truly inspiring and that is that laughter and happiness truly are the best medicine. Weekly, Morrison and Payberg share words of encouragement on the show’s website and continue to create and publish Tallulah’s videos in vlog format on both their website and YouTube channel that dose out this medicine in large portions with the hopes of alleviating the things have lately come to ail us most. So, while it is unclear if a Season Three is possible, it is certain that Morrison and Payberg remain committed to ensuring their audience laughs.
Where Can I Watch?
Both seasons of Feathers and Toast are available to watch through the Turtle InAPartyDress YouTube channel or on the Feathers and Toast channel. It is also available on the Funny or Die website. Videos from Tallulah’s vlog can be found either on the show’s website or on their YouTube channel, and Morrison and Payberg’s vlogs can be found on the website under the behind-the-scenes (“BTS”) tab.