Since 2005, YouTube has been the haven for creative individuals to express themselves and bypass the industry gatekeepers. A blessing an a curse to the general public, the platform has spawned legions of careers for singers and makeup gurus, comedians and “influencers” of god knows what. For the millennial generation, can you remember what life was like before the age of sharing everything on camera? Before now, what did we have to share our creativity and parts of our lives with our community? For some, that medium was public access television. In its heyday, public access TV was a breeding ground for original, and unconventional entertainment in a golden age of sitcoms and teen soap operas.
Back in the nineties, Ruthie Marantz had her own public access show in Manhattan. Her show, Rainbow Ruthie and the Color Kids gained a cult following during its run. Ruthie’s allure was that she was just a young girl having fun and speaking her mind, something not so common during the time. In various episodes, Ruthie is seen interacting with people on the streets of New York City, and occasionally running into celebrities at events, such as the Spice Girls.
Rainbow Ruthie, the series, is a semi-autobiographical version of Marantz’s life. The pilot for Rainbow Ruthie is a time capsule of nineties nostalgia, prompting a longing for the past. Humorous, yet existential, the pilot is an exciting look at a full series that needs to be realized.
In the pilot, Ruthie (playing herself) is an adult woman struggling to find direction. After revisiting tapes of her show, Ruthie decides to get back in front of the camera. Once her roommates see the remnants of her past life, they encourage to go online. However, Ruthie struggles to regain the spark that made the original series so great. As Ruthie contemplates her return, she realize that after 20 years, the world is an entirely different place. Ruthie now has to deal with the age of “influencers” and the ever-changing social media landscape. In the early days of YouTube, it was similar to public access that it allowed creatives to an alternative outlet. It’s still true to this day…sort of. Nowadays YouTube is home to full-fledged productions, and carefully curated content. As Ruthie plans her comeback, she tries to figure out the recipe for internet fame.
Her roommates Ayumi (Ayumi Patterson) and Parker (Parker Kitt Hill) help prepare her for her big internet comeback. After Ruthie discovers that her school bully Mira (Alexis Brankovic) is a social media megastar, she decides to create a video response. When Parker posts the video on his social media, it goes viral overnight, and Ruthie is back in the game. What will newfound stardom take Ruthie is this new time period? We would love to see what happens.
Rainbow Ruthie was supported by the IFP, Spike Lee, the Caucus, and Riese Foundation. It recently debuted at SXSW in March and is currently on the festival circuit. The pilot can be seen next at the NYC Independent Film Festival. For more information, you can visit the official website: www.rainbowruthie.com.