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Geekscape’s Not Quite the Next Big Thing: Mermates

Monday 2nd April 2012 by Joe Starr

After a month of promos and its first episode quickly picking up steam, Mermates, the web series about a man and his mermaid roommate, could easily be the internet’s Next Big Thing. Geekscape spoke with creator Michael Jonathan Smith, who also created the popular web comic Eros Inc, about the series, whose second episode premieres today.

 Michael: “Mermates” originally started off as a parody of a guy becoming roommates with a vampire, because I really wanted to make fun of the whole vampire genre. Then I realized a ton of people have done that better, but no one has covered mermaids yet. The idea of him being an everted mermaid (human on the outside, fish organs on the inside) stemmed from the question “how do I make this guy a mermaid without make-up?” Everything kind of came together after that.

Geekscape: So the concept sort of came out of resources, or lack thereof?

Michael: Exactly. I ran down in my head: What do I have? What can I get? What can I work with? I was like “realistically, what can I write that would bother as little people as possible?”

I started Eros Inc because I wanted to create something without having to rely on anyone. I was the writer, the actor, the director, the editor. You wear a lot of hats in web comics and it’s been the same with the web series.

Geekscape: Especially if it’s a web series about hats.

Michael: Don’t get me started on Downton Haberdashery.

The web series is completely different than any kind of media, because it has to tell the story (like a television show) but also be short and to the point. If it’s too long, you lose the internet. It’s a little like Twitter – you have to be economical with your time. I’m still learning to pare down.

Geekscape: The promos leading up to the first episode were great.

Michael: Those were really fun. There were a ton of gags and stuff that we wanted to do that didn’t fit into a specific episode. My personal favorite is the mermaid getting really offended by The Little Mermaid ride at Disneyland.

“It’s a culture, not a costume.”

Geekscape: That was our favorite as well. The roommates have great chemistry!

Michael: Alex and Chris are so fantastic. They did the series Adult Education together, which is at the LA Webfest this year. They’ve been working on stuff together for a long time, starting with a comedy group in San Francisco called SPF7. Chris also does sketch with his brother Matt as The Yule Brothers, and to continue the circle of life, Matt stars in a series called Peter Man, which was created by Justin Lamb, who was also in SPF7. Just between these two, there is a ton of amazing content online. Also, both Mermates and Peter Man involve breakups with a woman named Michelle. I can’t explain that to you.

Geekscape: Do you have any projects lined up after Mermates?

Michael: We’re writing a Mermates Christmas special.

Geekscape: That’s very British of you.

Michael: Almost as British as Downton Haberdashery.

Episode 2 of Mermates is up! You can find it at mermatestheseries.com after you watch the first episode below: