My latest television series indulgence is also doubling as my new favorite book!
I was late to The Handmaid’s Tale bandwagon because I’m not a bandwagon person. The instant something is super popular I’m normally not interested. I suppose that is the hipster in me.
Anyway, this story is worth all of the praise! The most intriguing thing to me is that the book was published in 1985, written by Margaret Atwood, and the scenarios she includes are eerily relevant today. I feel that the world she created amplifies what is subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) happening in our current political climate and country.
The handmaid sharing her story is named Offred (Of Fred, her Commander). In the story’s setting, handmaids are simultaneously revered and looked down upon. In this new totalitarian world, fertility is a challenge. Handmaids are the answer to this problem. And although many times they give the gift of life, it can’t be overlooked that in their life before the country changed, they were adulterers, “whores,” “gender traitors” – women who had “sinned.” Their bodies are no longer theirs, but their Commander’s and their Wife. Frequent “ceremonies” occur where essentially the handmaids are raped in an effort to conceive a baby. It is dark and twisted and will take your breath away if you choose to watch the series.
Atwood’s world is built on religion. Those who revolted against and attacked the United States government have created a new era based on The Bible. Everyone is expected to live and breathe the words in The Bible. Any past transgressions or current day actions that that fall outside of the Holy Word result in severe punishment, and in most cases, death.
Freedom as we know it is non-existent. Women are forbidden from reading or writing or working. They must obey their Commander or other men. Free thinking is beaten down. Uniforms are implemented to help others identify your status. Love is arranged. Money is no longer. “Guardians” are omnipresent, guns in hand, ready to shoot you down. Public hangings on “the wall” are the punishment of choice. The outlook is bleak.
BUT, hope resides. Some people were able to escape to Canada before being captured and forced to live the Gilead way of life. Secret messages are exchanged. Revolution bubbles beneath the surface. Stories of what is truly going on are leaked to countries who could potentially help. People exist within Gilead with enough power that they can attempt to assist people in getting out.
It’s the hope that keeps the characters going. Memories of how life used to be. A yearning to eventually get back to “normal.” Although, most of the men in power have no interest in this because they’ve “got it made” in their opinions. So, it might be a long road.
If there’s one thing this story is teaching me is that we have it good. Really good. Today freedom reigns, but in a blink of an eye it could all be taken away from us. So squeeze your family tight. Appreciate your right to share your opinions, thoughts, feelings. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t allow basic rights to be taken from you. Read. Write. EXPRESS YOURSELF. Don’t take it for granted.
If you enjoy strong, female leads in the shows you watch – check out Broad City – you’ll get two for one!
I’m embarrassed and disappointed in myself to say that it took me around five tries to get into this show. I must have been in a different head space and taking life a little too seriously during my previous attempts. It’s a shame I didn’t latch onto it earlier, but am glad I eventually did because it lives up to all of the hype.
The show was created by and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. I’ve expressed my love for Ilana in a previous post. She’s actually the reason why I gave this show so many tries. But I’ve come to equally admire Abbi. Here’s a recent interview she did with another of my favorite females, Courtney Barnett.
Abbi and Ilana are 1) the perfect pair, 2) funny as hell, 3) boundary pushers, and 4) extremely charming. They are two very relatable women getting through life the best way they know how – together. Although some of the shenanigans they get into are completely off the wall, it only makes you like them more. For their brutal honesty. For their ability to laugh through the most terrible situations. For their dedication to each other as friends. The list goes on.
There are currently four seasons of this show available on Hulu. I flew through them too fast, but each episode is so brilliant and funny, I am already re-watching them over time. Season five will be their last according to the internet…which is so sad…but I can’t wait to see what else these ladies do together and as individuals.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
If you burn through the episodes like I did, they have a mobile app full of Broad City themed games that brought me some comfort when I was missing the girls!
This show won my heart immediately! I happened upon it while searching for a new series to watch when I got ready in the morning and I'm so glad I took a chance on it. I ended up watching it in the morning, on lunch break, and at night - whenever I had the chance!
The show follows a teenage boy, Sam, who is on the Autism spectrum, and his family. It presents a very honest reflection of the joys and challenges that come with having a child with Autism, along with other complications that exist within families. I felt the storylines were very well done, complex, and the ending of each episode left me anxious for the next one.
"Charming" is the word I'd use to describe this show. The actor that plays Sam does a great job, as do the actors that play his family members. Autism is a sensitive topic, but they managed to navigate it respectfully and in a way that provided a form of education about this condition. I did not know much about Autism before watching this show, so appreciated gaining insight on what it is and its affects.
This series is a Netflix original and is available for watching now. Binge away!
I know this show is "old news" but I took a brief hiatus from it a few years back and just recently started watching it again. I'm unsure why I stopped watching it, but am kind of glad I did because I get to catch up on old seasons until the next one comes out!
The show begins by focusing on a single inmate, Piper, but as the seasons advance, broadens to include story lines featuring the many different characters around her. The show is actually based on the real experience of a woman named Piper who spent a year in prison for money-laundering and wrote a book about it.
One of my favorite parts of the show are flashbacks they do on each character, showing how they ended up in prison. They feature one to two flashback story lines on a different inmate in each episode, so you get to know them better over time. The flashbacks make me think about criminals in general in a slightly different way because it humanizes them. You're forced to remember they had/have real lives with real experiences and real people in them.
It also forces you to think about the prison system and how things are run. Yes, these are criminals, but they are people, too. Where's the line? Should there be a line?
There are currently five seasons on Netflix. If you watched before and stopped like I did, it's worth going back for. If you have never watched, let the binge begin!
Don't be alarmed by the video thumbnail image at the bottom of this post! Really, I hope it entices you. I think a lot of us want to communicate our feelings with this gesture on a frequent basis. I know I do.
If you are looking for a smart, honest television series to binge on - choose "HAPPYish." It's a Showtime series, but I indulged on Hulu. It is hands down one of the best TV series I have watched...EVER.
To start, I related to the main character in so many different ways - even though he is a middle aged male. He works in advertising administration like I do. His professional world and the concerns he carried about what he does mirror my experiences and thoughts exactly. He put into words and actions things I only dream of saying and doing.
Next comes this wonderfully complex man's family. His wife and son. Their family unit made my heart melt. Again, I related to them. And when I picture Joel and I as a family that potentially includes a child, it looks just like them. Real. No bullshit. Living life. Holding on with the tips of their fingers at some points. Most points. But don't we all?
This is a series that I will soon re-watch because it was that good. There were moments in each episode that I thought about later and related back to my own life in some way. This may sound funny, but I learned from it. To me, it was a series of lessons on how to deal with life. To draw from one of the episodes, life is compared to a series of the following: "Fuck. Yay! Fuck. Yay!" How true is that?
Anyways - I'm going to stop blabbing about this show in hopes you watch and enjoy it as much as I did. Watch the trailer below: