Pitch for a streamer: Gargamel! Paul Mescal plays the young Steve Gargamel, a wizard and alchemist who runs a detective agency with his best friend John “Papa” Smurf. Papa Smurf is played by beloved child laborer Timothée Chalamet. Mescal wears a long black sack dress and little red boots, but he makes it work as always. (It’s like those GAA shorts again).
Papa Smurf/Chalamet is painted blue and wears a red Phrygian cap. He uses his last name as a verb at whim (“Smurf”, not “Chalamet”, although in the real world he probably uses “Chalamet” as a verb). Since this is a dark prequel for an adult audience, in the first episode he’ll probably be saying something like “Smurf you, you mother smurf” to a local drug dealer who actually smurfed. Then Gargamel will try to use his name as a verb as well and Papa Smurf will say “It doesn’t work too many syllables” and they will laugh but Gargamel/Mescal will laugh a little angrily while playing with Connell’s necklace .
Each week, this unlikely duo solves forest crimes, but they’re starting to drift apart over their different worldviews. It’s a story as old as time. Papa Smurf/Chalamet discovers a passion for leading cults of people who look exactly like him except they are named for their work or temperament, and Gargamel/Mescal discovers he can create gold using Chalamet as an ingredient used. Both positions are, as far as we know, highly associated with Gen Z. There’s no way to know for sure. We can’t ask her. We are not in any of their apps.
You might read this pitch and think: That’s not necessary. But think of all the things you said those words about in the past that resulted in the worst people you know making $$$ and moving to space stations while you were in a normal house sit like a loser in your robe and watch tv. What do you expect people to do – invent new characters and stories that reflect our times? Bah. We had enough new ideas. We can just recycle the old ones: superheroes, star skirmishes, pyramid schemes, nuclear war scare, fascism, Alf from TV. Everyone will love Gargamel!
Like Gargamel!, Netflix Wednesday, which started on Wednesday, is completely unnecessary, but will take place anyway. It takes the Addams Family character (played by Jenna Ortega), ages her, gives her powers, and throws her into a crazy school full of supernatural teenagers. I know Irish Times readers and many of you think you already have a supernatural teenager. You____ not. School on Wednesday is full of vampires, werewolves, telekinesis and sirens. Your perfectly average child shows only a slight aptitude for programming and reads a few books once in a while.
What’s great about The Addams Family – the original Charles Addams cartoons, the TV show, the fantastic movies – is that the characters are beautifully weird, amoral and sinister – a femme fatale and her hot-blooded lover, a disembodied hand, a man all hair, a murderous daughter, a rowdy son, a sallow-skinned baby with a pencil moustache, a weird, grinning bald guy. It’s just weird.
In contrast, Wednesday is oddly straightforward. It’s a high school adventure where everyone is a hipster goth with a secretly good heart. There’s also some self-referential stunt casting with the excellent Christina Ricci playing Wednesday in the 1990s. It’s not Charles Addams stuff. It’s the stuff of the Netflix algorithm (referred to here as authors Alfred Gough and Miles Miller) and possibly the Tim Burton algorithm (which replaced the real Tim Burton shortly after The Nightmare Before Christmas).
Look, it doesn’t really feel like The Addams Family, but it’s a perfectly viable supernatural teen drama in which the now-overpowered Wednesday learns the importance of friendship, and elite schools, too. Charles Addams is no doubt spinning where they left his body. Knowing Addams, it was probably on a children’s carousel, so it’s not that bad. And it’s not Wednesday either.
I prefer it to the one directed by Michael Mann Tokyo truck (Wednesday, BBC One) a catchy name for his hit 1980s TV show Miami Vice, but with more realism (meaning long, boring scenes of people eating) and sadly less Phil Collins. In general, I find Michael Mann sympathetic, especially because his species like Paddington Bear or Mickey Mouse or Papa Smurf is also his last name, and that appeals to my sense of aesthetic symmetry. But this show has an air of Emily in Tokyo as our hero speeds through that city, striking up conversations in English (though, in fairness, he also speaks Japanese) and attempting to change the way his Japanese counterparts pursue journalism.
There’s a whole genre of stuff that’s basically a city far away, and the question, “But also, what if there was an American?” In this case, the answer is, “The yakuza, that’s what! Yes, television is a wonderful window into other cultures, but mainly into how they commit crime. The answer in this case is: cruel, but also very slow over many episodes.
Speaking of things happening very slowly, love in the flesh (Wednesday, Virgin Media Two) takes a bunch of lovesick hunks who have only ever communicated online and takes them to an exotic beach house in exotic beachwear to see how they all get along “in person”. It’s basically just Love Island from that point on, but they call their “mansion” “the beach house” and they call their “Laura Whitmore” “Zara McDermott.”
However, the main difference between Love in the Flesh and Love Island is how bored, grumpy, and dejected they all seem. It may be how they are edited. Or it may be because Love Island gets all the happy guys. It may even be because this show doesn’t have the crazy debauchery of Love Island narrator Iain Sterling to add pizzazz. But these are guys with the queue delivery of vox-popped shoppers on the one o’clock news.
At one point I was convinced that this was one of those animated Aardman ads that dubbed the public’s bored voices with claymation zoo animals. Is there room for a program called Voxpopuli Claymation Hunks, a show where the courted opinions of men and women on the street are expressed through the heads of lazy hunks seated around a swimming pool? I think there is. Oh, you can laugh now, but you probably laughed at my Gargamel too! Idea. Since you read these paragraphs, I’ve sold Gargamel! for many $$$s. Well who’s laughing now? I. This is who.
#Irish #Times #readers #supernatural #teenager #You____