Producer-writer Kate Sargeant created and also stars in the streaming series Virtually Single. She plays newly divorced Kaylee trying to navigate her changing life while stuck on video chat during the pandemic. Kaylee uses an online service to set her up with dates. She also uses the chat app to socialize with her girlfriends and to have therapy and life coaching sessions with an intimacy coach. Kaylee discovers through this traumatic time that she’s a long way from being emotionally healthy. Her experiences with online video dating cause her to re-evaluate her life and do the work needed to restore her balance and be ready for a relationship.
While using the dating app, one of Kaylee’s sessions is interrupted when a technician at the dating service reveals that she’s been watching the date. She offers to act as an online dating angel, screening and steering Kaylee towards people that seem to fit what Kaylee wants. After recovering from the initial shock of learning someone is peering in on conversations she thought were private, Kaylee decides the tech can help her, and a beautiful new friendship emerges.
Over the course of nine episodes, Kaylee experiences dramatic highs and lows. She meets nice men, odd guys, sketchy dudes, and at one point is even hooked up with someone she’d dated before. The mantra for her journey, as offered to her by her intimacy coach, is to “become the one, to find the one, in order to keep the one.”
“…one of Kaylee’s sessions is interrupted when a technician at the dating service reveals that she’s been watching the date…”
While mostly scripted, Virtually Single features a fair amount of improv, and the performances are solid. The technical production is also top-notch, image quality and sound are both good, and the editing keeps the story moving at a good pace. The series is an emotional rollercoaster, and the online sessions have an unsettling realism. If you happened upon these recordings, you’d easily think they were from real life.
Episodes are not built in the traditional three-act format, so the story spools out realistically, stopping and starting, with distractions from many directions, like real life itself. This brings an uncomfortable sudden forced intimacy with people you don’t know. It feels like the viewer is intruding on something private. Because the experience meanders in a less focused way than most scripted dramas, it does take a commitment of time and focus to see what becomes of Kaylee.
The worry in having the series debut now is that people have spent nearly two years in video chats. For those who weren’t accustomed to it, it’s a tough sell. This might have worked better a year ago when there was still some novelty in the idea that we’d all communicate by online video. There’s a chance viewers could be exhausted by it and not want to stick with the show. That would be a mistake, as there’s wisdom, heartbreak, joy, and humor one would miss by not watching Virtually Single.
"…the story spools out realistically..."