Adults are finally given to the opportunity to enjoy guilty childhood pleasures, in “Getting over him in eight songs or less,” an animated HBO documentary written, directed and animated by Debra Solomon, set to air Valentine’s Day.
Solomon, who has earned household recognition with the creation and animation of the “Lizzie McGuire,” takes us on one woman’s journey after being dumped by her husband.
Shortly after her husband left, Solomon said she was tired of saying, “yeah, I’m fine. Everything is great.”
When in actuality she wasn’t. With her personal life mirroring in and out of the scenes, you feel so connected to the content. It feels real and truly is everyone’s story.
Unlike “Lizzie McGuire,” Solomon takes on mature material in this animation documentary. She said her personal films deal with the events going on in her life.
“As I am an adult the subject matter is of adult nature,” she said, “animation is where accessing interior experiences are so much easier in drawing cartoons. I never chose this way. It just developed over years, even in my life drawing classes.”
This film does in 30 minutes what most romantic comedies can only hope to do in two hours. By using animation, the audience is not subject to the awkward, embarrassing and uncomfortable scenes of watching real people go through what the animated characters go through in this film.
We can laugh at the experiences openly because it’s not real. They’re not real, it’s a cartoon. People don’t actually think that, right?
Through each song we go through a different emotional, mental and spiritual change with the main character, who’s not given a name.
“Everyday a piece of me falls apart,” the character says, and suddenly her body is dissembling, limb by limb, and melts into the background. It’s an animated version of Picasso meeting Poe.
“I make my films to please myself,” Solomon said, “it’s kinda like poetry; it’s just very expensive poetry. I’m not aiming it towards anyone in particular; it’s just typically women will say ‘that’s my story.’”
The first chapter is the initial breakup. Our character has been dumped and is sitting on the floor, incredibly overdramatic and says, “I cry, I wail,” and begins pulling out her hair. She says, “I do everything but flop around like a fish in my own tears.”
This was a laugh out loud moment. The over dramatization becomes humorous because deep down inside, all of who have been dumped, have felt the exact same way and never admitted it.
The film is filled with moments that can only be deemed, “what if moments.” What if I just eat the entire refrigerator, because that’s how I feel? What if I could climb into her perfect body, because that’s how I feel? What if I took an axe and chopped through the wall of my neighbor’s apartment, because that’s how I feel?
Solomon said the character goes through all kinds of emotions we can relate to.
“Most of us have experienced walking around in your pajamas sulking and suddenly you realize it’s 6 o’ clock p.m. and you get glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think ‘I can’t believe I’ve been like this all day.’”
Solomon said she tried new things with this animation.
“The scenes are looser. There is more of fluidity in this film. I created scenes where the background and characters melt together. I really could do anything. I wanted the freedom to take the drawings to a place where it wanted to go.”
Solomon intentionally avoids the cliché ending where the girl is suddenly twenty pounds lighter, with a new man and job. Instead, she kept it “realistic and satisfying. I wanted people to recognize their own lives,” she said.
“I used to think my sensitivity, or being in touch with these emotions was a curse. It wasn’t until I could challenge it that I could laugh at it. Turing that liability into an asset, now, I’m writing songs and thinking about it in a creative and powerful viewpoint. I see it in a new direction. A direction where … I think of things as material. It’s a great thing to do … to use it towards something positive.”
“Getting over him in 8 songs or less” will air on HBO2 on Feb.14 at 7:30p.m.