Film

Teresa Lee And Christine Medrano Talk Threesomes, Comedy And ‘I Think She Likes You’

Teresa Lee and Christine Medrano co-wrote and co-star in the comedy short film, I Think She Likes You.

Directed by Bridey Elliot, the short follows Justine and Julia as their planned threesome with Jake hots up in an unexpected way. You can now watch I Think She Likes You on YouTube:


Q: How did the two of you meet? What bonded you?

Teresa: We’re both standup comedians working in Los Angeles, and a little over a year ago we got booked on some East Coast festivals within two weeks of each other, so we decided to go on tour together to make (back) some money. Standup is a small community, but through traveling and performing together we bonded over our experiences as queer Asian women. Shoutout to funny comedian Geoffrey Asmus who joined for some of the tour, as we can be quite exhausting.

Christine: We met through standup. We were going to a few of the same cities for comedy festivals and decided to make a tour through it and bonded over the trip, mostly over exes.

Q: I can’t think of many films that look at the dynamics of threesomes. They only seem to be ‘represented’ through porn! What brought you to this subject and what the perspective did you want to bring to it? 

Christine: It was based on an idea I had about two girls who don’t fuck a guy because he voted for Trump and kinda grew from there. We also wanted to shift the perspective of the male gaze to have a threesome centered around two women, rather two women who were there to fulfill a fantasy of the guy. It was fun to turn the idea on its head and not to reveal too much but to definitely bait and switch the audience. 

Teresa: I’m so glad you mentioned the porn thing, because that was a huge part of wanting to flip the perspective for us. Like Christine mentioned, she had this hilarious story about how her and her ex-girfriend failed to have a threesome because a guy voted for Trump – which spoke to me because it’s driven by the women’s wants and needs and not that random guy (whoever he was!).

When we were back from tour, we were both unemployed at the same time and would meet up at coffee shops to keep each other busy writing. We wanted to take advantage of the free time (aka unemployment) we had and decided to write a short showing the bisexual experience through a comedic lens. We were brainstorming and Christine mentioned her story, and I thought it would be cool to do a movie where we flipped the typical male gaze of a Hollywood threesome and told it through the female gaze. Like, I wanted to talk about the intense emotional relationship between women, while also acknowledging sexual desire from their perspective. We riffed off of the initial idea and both pulled moments from our past relationships to outline the story.

I basically tell people if Hollywood and porn portray threesomes as a sexual fantasy, our short is an anti-fantasy about this man entering the emotional relationship of two women.

Teresa Lee, Josh Fadem and Christine Medrano in ‘I Think She Likes You’

Q: I could easily see a version of this short film that takes on a more dramatic edge. Why did you want to use humour?

Teresa: Because straight people wouldn’t watch it otherwise! No, that’s a joke. The truth is somewhere in the middle though. I like to laugh, and I like things that make me laugh. If you watch either of our comedy, we both have experienced a lot of trauma in our lives, and the deeper you go into your own trauma, the more alienating it can be to share it. So I love using comedy to tell personal stories, because I can be more honest and less off-putting, and also because that’s my coping mechanism. I think these characters don’t feel like they’re in a comedy though, and that’s part of what makes them funny to watch.

Christine: We used humour because it’s who we are as comics. I also get a twisted pleasure out of characters who are going through hell but for the audience it’s funny, and these two girls are definitely going through it. It’s was also a lot of fun to poke at a lot of the tropes of being queer women like the letter and poetry and crying and fighting; I have definitely lived my fair share of lovers’ quarrels but this one had a few less broken dishes. 

Q: I really enjoyed Josh Fadem’s character and how he responds to being on the periphery of this situation. What did Josh and his character bring to this project?

Christine: It was great working with Josh because he elevates everything he is in. He took this part and made it funnier than I think either one of us anticipated it could be. And I think his character mirrors how the audience should feel while the short is unfolding, like you’re a voyeur to a very private and hard conversation these two women are having. It gives some of the audience someone to identity with.

Teresa: Josh is the best! We love Josh so much and he brought so much to the character. When we wrote this, we were already friends with Josh and familiar with his work, so it was such a delight to have him on board. I also sent him the script for thoughts and incorporated notes into revisions, so he was involved in that way as well.

Q: How was your experience collaborating with director Bridey Elliott?

Teresa: We were so lucky to have Bridey direct this project, and we actually have Josh to thank for it. When he saw the script, he mentioned that he thought Bridey would be a great director for this and asked if he could send it to her. She had just debuted her first feature at Sundance and we were so thrilled she liked it. We met over drinks to talk about the script and once we knew she got it and understood our starting point, we kind of just let her do her thing. Since I had known Bridey, Josh, and Christine before this project through standup, we already knew each other and were able to jump to a personal place very quickly.

Christine: Working with Bridey was great. She is so effortlessly funny and really helped find the heart of this short. She was really nurturing and created an environment where we were able to be crying screaming messes and feel absolutely safe in doing so. She was really able to take the rollercoaster the characters are feeling and make the audience the same disorientation the characters are feeling. 

Christine Medrano and Teresa Lee. Photo by Carissa Dorson

Q: This film is a real conversation starter, especially for couples. What has the response been like to the film at festivals and now on YouTube?

Christine: The response has been overwhelmingly positive thus far (fingers crossed) and I think some of the best screenings we’ve had have been at queer festivals. This is a short that I think anyone can enjoy but we definitely nod at lot to queer audiences and it has been exciting for me to be part of that changing landscape of film that is more inclusive with stories like these. It’s been so great to hear a lot of people saying they see themselves in this short a lot and honestly love to hear that this short has made people cry! 

Teresa: The coolest thing about the reactions to me is how it transcends sexual orientation, gender, or relationship status. Of course we get a lot of women who laugh because they’ve been there and connect to it on a personal level, but we also get men who enjoy seeing a side of relationships they haven’t thought about before, who might laugh because it feels absurd, but are also aware of how real it is for others. Because we try to show the story through all three character’s perspectives, you can empathise with all of them, and they are all living their truths.

The audience at Tribeca and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Asian Film Festival laugh at different things, both positive, but different… We were programmed in the Bisexual block at our Frameline screening in San Francisco, and that was the audience that got every single one of the jokes in a way that only a shared experience can. The other day a comedian saw it and complimented the absurdity of the situation, saying the letters were especially hilarious, and I had to sheepishly tell him that the letters were a very real thing that both Christine and I have done in our own relationships. I took the compliment though. Hey, what can I say, I’m a writer, so I write.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

Teresa: We have a pilot for a TV show written for this, and we’d love to make it a reality. We’ve also been approached to explored a feature film with the characters, and we’re open to that as well though thus far it’s just been interest. Nothing’s off the table, but in the meantime this project was funded completely out of pocket and by taking out a new credit card, so we’re each working on our own projects as well. I’m writing my next film that I hope to direct, as well as doing standup every night until people stop coming to shows.

Christine: To keep doing stand up and hopefully to make more things! 


Title photo by Carissa Dorson

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