(Updated April 4, 2017)
I wrote this blog too soon, and needed to update it when I saw the final episode.This is one of my new favorite shows. Not only is it a stellar cast of kickass women, but it is a masterful blend of art and telling real stories about real issues without the usual Hollywood face lift. I hate when films or series gloss over serious issues, and use, for example, abuse as a mere dramatic effect, or they glamourize it someway. Here, you don’t just have an abused housewife, you go through the confusion, the shame, the fear, the anger, the denial, the escape, and all the various wavelengths of an abusive relationship with her.
This is a woman’s kind of show, where many of the issues the characters face are issues that many women can relate to. Right up front, we are confronted with one of the major themes threaded throughout the series—that is, the issue of working mom vs. stay-at-home mom. Mothers are either judged for working too much or they’re undervalued, but in the end everyone is just trying to do what is best for her children.
Much of the dramatization is carried out through bullying and competition between women. I hope mothers aren’t really so vicious with each other, and that that part of the show is dramatized. However, it begs an important question, why are we so threatened by each other? Sometimes we see something one woman is great at that we ourselves might not be great at, and we feel like we’re failing. We forget that she might be good at that thing, but I’m good at this other thing. She might look like she has it all together, but we don’t really know her whole story. We often let our insecurities take over like an ugly disease.
Moreover, the bullying between the moms makes you think about how we set examples for our kids. I recently read an article about a mother who realized that her young daughter was at the early stages of becoming a bully, and so nipped that in the bud by making her daughter get to know that other little girl that she and her friends were secluding. Eventually, these girls became best friends and the daughter became a very open-hearted and inclusive woman as she grew up through grade school and went to university.
One thing I really like is that when any of the characters realize she was wrong, or is in the wrong, she apologizes. We need to see that. It's important to have humility. And as I wondered where all this bullying and drama was going to go, because I didn't read the book, the final episode wraps it all up spectacularly. I cried. The show starts off with clear divides. There are friends, frenemies, and enemies. However, I was moved to tears when I saw how the women all came together and fought together when Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is being brutally beaten in front of them by her husband, and our other leading and main supporting female characters jump in to try to fight him off, and pull him off of her. The beauty of this scene, when it is finally revealed, gave me this adrenaline rush of girl power vibes. I love seeing girls get together and fight for each other and with each. The truth is, despite whatever differences we may have, we girls need to stand up for each other, we need to stand up together, we need to help one another out when someone is in need. We are all bound by the pains and struggles that create an unspoken sisterhood only we as women can fully relate to.
What I love about this show is that all the women are just trying to be the best women and mothers they can be, but no one is perfect, and yet everyone is perfect in her own way. Plus you have five dynamic female characters. I'm so tired of the generic "female in distress" stories. Those stories are sexist, offensive, and degenerate.
On top of addressing the real issues in a real way, this show has all the friends and frenemies, and pretty people and houses so many of us desire in our consumption of entertainment. Not to mention, this series is like a stunning tourism ad for Monterrey. My childhood memories of Monterrey are overcome with the poignant stench of masses of sea lion. However, now I’m in the mood for some NorCal sea air.
If you haven’t gotten into it yet, I definitely recommend it.
BIG LOVE & HUGS