What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #64

I remember when I used to do these posts almost weekly, but here we are with them popping up maybe once or twice a month. I guess a lot of my time has been diverted to reading, so I can get my challenges and experiments done in time. I don’t regret spending my time differently, but I do miss binging all day sometimes. Still, I have a decent amount of things to talk about again!

The White Lotus (Season 1)

The show makes you feel uncomfortable, but simultaneously keeps you interested in a way only an HBO show can. We’ve all met these sort of entitled, troubled, lost people before and some of us might even be able to find part of ourselves in them. I’m so very glad I don’t work in a hotel anymore, although that part, too, was relatable. It’s not exactly laugh out loud funny, but it’s definitely top notch dark humor.

You may think you know where this show is headed, but there’s some really good, partly grotesque turns along the way. All the actors did such an amazing job, but that ending … it’s not going to be for everyone.

CODA

This might be one of, if not my absolute, favorite movie of the year!

CODA, meaning Child Of Deaf Adults, is a movie about family in the most beautiful way. Ruby is the only hearing person in her family and that comes with many responsibilities. However, her true passion is singing, something none of her loved ones can quite comprehend. And so, a tale of self-discovery, love and obligation and letting go ensues.

I seriously cried my way through the final scenes, because I was so touched by the whole story. It was beautiful to have deaf representation that showed the struggle on both point of views and didn’t put any blame or take a side in the process. I can only highly recommend this movie! Please, go watch it!

The below music/lyric video is amazing, but does contain some spoilers in case you want to avoid them.

Resort to Love

Resort to Love is the kind of cheesy romance movie I like. It’s predictable, sweet and like a warm hug in most cases. After Falling Inn Love, I also knew that Netflix had a plan for Christina Milan and I’m here for it. I know that these kind of movies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like that kind of stuff, it’s definitely worth a watch.

The Kissing Booth 3

I’M SO GLAD THIS MOVIE FRANCHISE IS FINALLY DONE!

I don’t really know why I did this to myself, but it was kind of fun to make fun of the first movie. Then I sort of stumbled into the second and finally, I felt like I couldn’t pass up on the last part of it. In the beginning, I didn’t hate it, but by the end of it, I really couldn’t stand it anymore? Most of these characters were unreasonably rich, immature and co-dependant. It was just difficult for me to root for anyone. Also, there was absolutely no need for this movie to be two hours long.

Shows I Watch Weekly

Last time, I talked about a bunch of shows I watch on a weekly basis and since that worked well for me, I’m going to continue doing it!

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – So far, I like the season better than the last one, although it still doesn’t reel me in as much as the first one did. I can’t explain why at all, but there are definitely still aspects I love. I always look forward to every single scene with Maria and I’m kind of intrigued by the blossoming Rosa/Wyatt relationship. Undecided on whether I’m for it, but I’m definitely interested in seeing more.

Ted Lasso (Season 2) – Ted Lasso giving its characters more room to develop without pitting them all against each other is beautiful to watch. I feel there’s still something the season is building up to, a big blow up of some sort, and I’m not ready for it.

Animal Kingdom (Season 5) – As suspected, I prefer binging it rather than tuning in weekly. It’s been dragging a bit for me.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I’m really happy the show is back! So far, my obsession hasn’t reached the same height as last summer, but seeing these characters on a regular basis again warms my heart.

Gossip Girl (mid-season finale) – I’m so over Obie and his indecisiveness. Also, there’s no way he and his mother are German. I’m going to headcanon them as Belgian now.

Superman & Lois (Season 1 finale) – Sad and excited at the same time that we ended on the cliffhanger we ended on. I’m really looking forward to more here.

Schmigadoon (Season 1 finale) – As someone who is not a big fan of musicals, this show was alright. I did expect more from the finale though.


What have you been watching lately? Do you plan on checking out or have maybe already watched some of the things above?

#CurrentlyWatching: Here and Now

I did a Twitter poll to decide on this week’s theme (only for a short amount of time, so don’t worry if you missed it) and … there were two winners, so the poll wasn’t helpful at all. Still, it narrowed down my options by a little bit and I ultimately went with “Shows that could use some more buzz“. I know that a lot of you haven’t even heard of some of the shows that I promote as it is, but whenever I am on social media, I either feel like shows are getting attention or not. This week, we will talk about the ones that don’t.

To describe today’s show Here and Now is a thing of impossibility. It’s like the OA meets This Is Us but because of the lack of focus on one genre, it doesn’t quite do as well as either of those shows did? It currently airs on HBO and is still in its first season.

Here and Now focuses on a multi-racial family with three adopted and one biological child as things start to play into their lives beyond anyone’s understanding.

What even is this show? I don’t know! I honestly cannot tell you. It’s a lot of things and it is none of those things. It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery. I have never been so frustrated with the lack of an aha-moment, yet felt so compelled to tune in every single week at the same time!

One the one hand, Here and Now is a family drama. It deals with adoption and especially what it means for the parents and children if you adopt outside of your own race. But it is about so much more than that, it’s about religion, mental health, sexuality and belonging into the world. Even within the pilot alone, you see that you get fleshed out characters that are all dealing with their own stuff in their own ways. Everyone is connected to the others, however, at the same time, it all feels very much like they all have their own stories apart from one another. So, taking all that into consideration, you might think you are watching just another contemporary drama, but that’s not the truth at all.

There is an element of mystery that, even after 6 out of 10 episodes, I cannot put my finger on. And I am not talking about a murder mystery here, I am talking about full on spiritual, supernatural or magical connections happening very reminiscent of the OA and Sense8. The numbers 11:11 play a huge part in it all, but it doesn’t feel like we are anywhere near the discovery of what it all means. This is partly the show’s downfall, as it sometimes seems to forget what it’s trying to convey with so many characters and their real life problems that the supernatural sub-plot just gets put on the sidelines. It often feels like Alan Ball is trying to throw in so many debates about culture and identity, that he never truly hits home with anything. I do want to give him points for trying though.

Overall, I think that Here and Now might be more enjoyable as a binge-watch. It is told slowly and with many taboos and straight forward confrontations typical in the style of HBO. The show has no to very little need for the use of CGI, which makes it feel grounded in reality. I am very curious as to what the whole 11:11 shebang means, because that’s just who I am. Whenever I randomly look at my phone and it’s exactly 11:11, I think of the show. I want the answers and I hope Alan Ball delivers before I get too impatient.

As I mentioned above, every character has their own story to tell, their own demons to face, their own hurdles to overcome. I am sure there are characters that appeal to someone that might not appeal to another person but there is something there for everyone. I personally feel very detached from the parents of the family. Their narrative is kind of lost on me, just because I cannot connect to them emotionally. Their children all hold my attention far more! It was difficult to choose who to talk about. Ashley struggles in her marriage and also with the fact that no one in her family can relate to being a black woman in America. The celibate Duc seems to be haunted by his past, but rather micro-manages other people’s lives as a “motivational architect” than face those memories. And Kristen just wants to be unique in a family that has so many stand out members. But in the end I went with the person who really started things in my eyes.

This someone who immediately caught my eye was Ramon. He was adopted from Colombia when he was 18 months old and is now an openly-gay student who is designing video games. He is the darling of the family and his adopted siblings suspect it is because he is white-passing and it was therefore easier for their parents to “deal” with him. He very much felt like the main character, despite everyone being important to the plot, just because his supposed hallucinations kick off the mystery plot. At first, the unsettling images are confined to his dreams, but then the visions seem to sweep over into reality.

All of his relationships are interesting. As I said, he is kind of the darling boy of the family, but I was especially intrigued by his not-yet-disclosed connection to his new therapist, Farid. I expect that, should the aha-moment that explains the entire supernatural sub-plot ever come, it will take place in a scene between those two.

But I also love Ramon’s relationship with Henry. There were some recent developments that I don’t want to get into, but I hope they can get over their fight and be the cute couple they used to be. I was very mad at Ramon for that one … I really thought they were hitting it off.

While it may not seem that way, there is more than just one family to take into consideration when it comes to Here and Now. Ramon’s therapist’s family takes up an important part of the narrative as well and they are connected through more than Ramon when Farid’s son, Navid, tries to befriend Kristen, Ramon’s sister, at school. The Shokranis are used mainly to show the fanatic and healing side of religion (in their case they are Muslims), but with Navid they also explore the topic of being gender-fluid.

I am not sure the show was strictly necessary. Maybe I should have waited until they were actually done with their first season, but I think there is a certain appeal to it all. It is far from perfect, but I think it tries really hard to put in as many current issues as possible. Sometimes it ends up being really clunky, but other times it can also be beautiful.

Have you ever stuck with a show despite not knowing what was going on? Would you want to try Here and Now? Do you think it might deserve some more buzz or do you think it is trying too hard to succeed?