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'Submissions Only' is the best show not on TV

If you’ve ever auditioned for a play, interviewed for a job or tried out for a sports team, you’re familiar with the constant fear that you aren’t good enough and that there is someone better, smarter and much prettier than you. Submissions Only takes that feeling and bottles it into 22-minute satirical webisodes that are all at once real and over the top.

Created by New York actors Kate Wetherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Submissions Only follows Penny Reilly (Wetherhead) and her best friend Tim Trull (Colin Hanlon) as they muddle through the New York theater world. It offers an honest perspective on the Broadway scene that Smash could only dream of accomplishing. Currently in its third season with original music, crazy made-up plays and one extremely cute guy, Submissions Only is the best television show that’s not on TV. If you’re in the mood for some binge watching, stop reading now and catch up with seasons 1 and 2 at SubmissionsOnly.com, and season 3 at BroadwayWorld.com. For fans and those who read a novel’s last page first, let’s meet this band of misfits.


katewetherhead  Penny Reilly (Kate Wetherhead)

Struggling New York actress Penny Reilly starts the series as a reader for her best friend Tim Trull’s new casting company. At the end of season 1, she is passed over for her dream roll in Iron Dog and is cast in the Mean Girls national tour. (This Mean Girls musical was before the real Mean Girls musical was announced.) Penny has an unfortunate nasty accident on tour involving a harness and returns to New York and her old job as a reader. At the end of season 2, Penny is cast in the new musical Jeremy’s Fort starring Serena Maxwell (Donna Vivino). She is currently in rehearsals, and they are not going well. Not only is Penny struggling with the score, written by the dynamic “Giddyup Guys” (Daniel Breaker and Teddy Bergman), but the tension between Penny and Serena is interfering with her work.

colinhanlon  Tim Trull (Colin Hanlon)

Tim is Penny’s best friend and loves a chunky cardi. Along with his assistant, Gail (Lindsay Nicole Chambers), his casting business has become somewhat successful. Since his breakup with Penny’s agent Steven (Stephen Bienskie), he has pursued the possibility of becoming lovers with “Compass-ition” creator Nolan Grigsby (Wade McCollum). Though Tim and Nolan are VERY different, they have a palpable chemistry. Nolan is encouraging Tim to let go and enjoy life, and Tim is slowly becoming a happier person because of it. Tim and Nolan’s relationship is still in the sweet, innocent phase, providing a perfect contrast to the absolute mess that is Penny’s love life.

santinofontana  Aaron Miller (Santino Fontana)

Aaron Miller, an actor turned possible lawyer turned actor turned back to possible lawyer, is confused about a lot of things. He first meets Penny at an acting class in season 1 and is immediately infatuated. Although he considers giving up acting for law school, Aaron takes a job with Tim as an extra reader during the Iron Dog casting, where he is reacquainted with Penny. Penny finally realizes how adorable Aaron is just as he books a role in Iron Dog, and she doesn’t. This, along with her exile to the Mean Girls tour, puts an end to their burgeoning relationship.

Aaron quickly starts dating Broadway star Serena Maxwell and shines in the Boston production of Iron Dog. When the revamped production flops in New York following the firing of the director and the entire cast except for Aaron, he admits to Penny that he still has feelings for her. Since Penny has just been cast in Serena’s play, she is conflicted and decides to hold off any future romance with Aaron until after Jeremy’s Fort is over.

Despite sharing a kiss with Penny at the end of season 2, Aaron doesn’t break up with Serena. He’s not a bad guy, though. He’s just an adorably confused puppy. He is so confused that he is taking time off of New York and acting to “figure things out” back home. Aaron then tells Serena that he is thinking of applying to law school (again), although Serena thinks it’s for the first time.

donnavivino   Serena Maxwell (Donna Vivino)

When Penny first meets Serena in season 2, she comes off as a typical Broadway diva with no time for anyone else (including her boyfriend). She doesn’t go to the first preview of Iron Dog because previews make her nervous. How do you think Aaron feels? She won’t even accompany Aaron to his agent’s party because she is too fragile after reading the terrible Iron Dog reviews.

Working on Jeremy’s Fort, Penny is seeing a completely different side of Serena. Turns out Serena’s actually a nice person. All of a sudden she wants to be Penny’s friend, and somewhere along the way, Penny and Aaron forget to tell Serena that they know each other. Awkward. Every time Serena tries to be friendly, Penny becomes more and more uncomfortable with the situation. Penny is not good at keeping her mouth shut and is constantly letting things slip about Aaron. She definitely can’t keep the secret much longer. Aaron seriously needs to rip off the Serena Band-Aid and come back to New York.

annelnathan  Linda Avery (Anne L. Nathan)

Linda Avery is a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it, even when it’s a very gay man (and it usually is). As the original director of Iron Dog, Linda works with Tim, Penny and Aaron to cast the Boston production. During the casting, she fondly calls Aaron “Luke Wilson,” but only has eyes for Tim. When Linda finds out that Tim is gay, they have a huge falling out. Tim is not likely to cast another Linda Avery production anytime soon. Since Linda was unceremoniously fired from Iron Dog and replaced by Vincent Savio, who completely ruined the production, Penny hasn’t seen much of Linda. That is, until last week, when Linda appears as the new director of Jeremy’s Fort.

Completely oblivious to the Aaron/Penny don’t ask, don’t tell game, Linda immediately makes the whole Serena situation more awkward by bringing up Aaron’s old pet name. Penny quickly (like at side effect reader warp speed) reveals the whole crazy thing to Linda. Although Linda is skeptical, she gets on board with the lie. With Tim a thing of the past, Linda is now setting her sights on her new protégé, Josh Clark (Blake Whyte) — who, unfortunately for Linda, is also swinging for the other team.

stephenbienskie Steven Ferrell (Stephen Bienskie)

Steven, who is Penny’s agent as well as Tim’s ex-boyfriend, has put up with a lot of crap from clients over the years. He is ecstatic that Penny is cast in Jeremy’s Fort and is not afraid to tell her when she’s being crazy about the Aaron thing. After Iron Dog‘s success in Boston, Steven’s agency signs Aaron Miller, creating yet another awkward situation for Penny. Steven’s office is no longer a safe haven for Penny to vent about her life. Now she might run into Aaron, or worse, Serena and Aaron together at Steven’s office, when she least expects it.

Steven’s new boyfriend, Cameron (Max von Essen), is the opposite of Tim in every way, which is perfect for Steven. Cameron is a foodie who loves the outdoors (it’s possible Tim has not been outside since last summer). Their relationship moves very quickly, and after dating for a few months, Steven and Cameron buy a weekend home in the Berkshires, which Penny lovingly nicknames “Gay Gardens.” Season 3, episode 4 (the most recent) is a big one for Steven and Cameron’s relationship. On the way home from a rather odd art exhibition, Steven proposes! We have to wait until Monday, April 28, for Cameron’s response, but all signs point to wedding bells in Gay Gardens.


Have I convinced you to watch? Give it a go, and I promise that within five minutesyou will be smitten with these characters and the tone of the series. Submissions Only is like wearing your favorite sweater while drinking hot chocolate. It’s cuddly, warm, and impossible to watch without a big smile on your face.

While some of the jokes may be over your head if you are completely unfamiliar with Broadway, the majority of the writing is extremely accessible. These characters are real, as are their relationships. We have all met a Penny, an Aaron (I wish), or a Tim in our lives. The emotion on Submissions Only is perfectly paired with side-splitting one-liners, just like a detectable French macaron. If you are in the market for a show that will provide hours of warm fuzzies, you are in the right place. And for all you Broadway babies out there, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for some unbelievably awesome cameos.

Submissions Only airs every other Monday at 9 p.m. EST exclusively at BroadwayWorld.com, and episodes are available on demand the following day. The next episode will air on Monday, April 28.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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