Netflix - Compilation 1 - May 18, 2019

Some JayFlix diehards have asked me for my opinion on some of the streaming services. As a confirmed Luddite (!) this is a major challenge because that whole universe is a mystery to me, however, I have blundered into some stuff and had other shows recommended to me (Thanks Sweden!) that have turned out to be things I DO have an opinion about.

I will share these views intermittently, along with my experience in finding things. When I mention a series, it is no guarantee that it will be available when you search for it, but rest assured, it was there when I wrote this. Remember, this is Netflix, so you must understand that most of these are R-rated, and one or two are foreign (English captions), so brace yourself.
  • Schitt's Creek (Four seasons so far) This features two of Christopher Guest's repertory company, Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as a filthy rich couple who hit a major financial bump in the road and end up in two rooms in a chintzy motel in little burg (Yeah, you guessed it) along with their spoiled rotten young adult children. This is Stranger in a Strange Land, as they try to cope with poverty, no car, limited means, and a rich assortment of local yokels. (Brace yourself for a Hollywood version of what they THINK local yokels are like.) This is character-driven humor, so the first episode or two is spent introducing you to the characters. The adult children are played by Dan Levy (who shares writing credit with his dad, Eugene) and Annie Murphy; these two share a warped sense of values. I ended up fond of the gay son and that wildly irresponsible daughter, while O'Hara's former soap star character is an absolute hoot!
  • Rita (Four seasons total) This Danish series (English captions) is about a divorced school teacher with three children who sees her mission as her students' first line of defense from their parents. She has a good handle on what her children need; but what she needs? Not so much... As you watch, you will see why those children need protecting, why this is a teacher we admire, and why Americans consider Scandinavian TV to be VERY adult!
  • Laugh-In I looked this one up last night because I had been a fan of the classic series. I appreciated their groundbreaking humor and the vast array of guest stars. Last night they cleverly interspersed clips from the original show with more contemporary faces but I was very disappointed to hear one tirade after another coming from the echo chamber that is today's Hollywood , even the Fickle Finger of Fate was boring. Nothing original, but was fun to be reminded of the old faces: John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Ruth Buzzy, Judy Carne, Tim Conway, Lily Tomlin, Richard Nixon, Goldie Hawn, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rowan and Martin, etc., and catch phrases, "Sock it to me!" "Here come da judge!" "Look THAT up in your Funk and Wagnells" "Beautiful downtown Burbank..." etc., plus a nostalgic visit with the Farkell Family. After those repetitious ideological rants, I just can't in good faith recommend it.
  • Gad Elmaleh's American Dream (a one-off) Spend an hour of entertaining stand-up comedy (not usually something I would seek) with France's Jerry Seinfeld. This guy was born in Morocco, has starred in French comedies (The Valet is a favorite of mine), and now that he has crossed the pond, he brings his own unique view of our country, our language, and our behavior. He is VERY funny and reminds me of a French-Moroccan Victor Borge.
  • Welcome to the Family (Benvinguts a la família) By the way, the language here is Catalon, not Spanish, with English captions. A destitute woman is being evicted, so she grabs her children and throws herself at the "mercy" (?!) of her wealthy (estranged) father and his current trophy wife. I watched one season and it looks like the second season is being filmed. I enjoyed it. Thanks, Sweden.
  • The Ranch (on sixth season so far) This features an unapologetic right winger (Sam Elliott) who owns a ranch in Colorado. He has one drunken son (Danny Masterson) who stayed home to help and a second drunken son (Ashton Kutcher) who blew his first season as a pro-football player and, like a bad penny, has returned. You'll love the father's opinion about almond milk! The rancher's former wife (Debra Winger) runs a bar in town but remains on friendly terms, so it isn't a constant diatribe. The language is raunchy, the stars are appealing and the story line is involving; e.g., the rancher has had a fire, so he is itemizing some of the bad things he has encountered in the past, "Drought, fire, downed fences, sick cows, eight years of Clinton..." I'm on Season Six and have good feelings about that nephew who just showed up.
  • Insatiable (Two seasons) An unmotivated attorney (his father owns a successful law firm) has discovered that his passion is coaching beauty pageant contestants. The unpredictable first episode threw out one twist after another. Suffice it to say, we are with a young woman who has been fat all of her life. She is hurt and her jaw is wired shut for months; lo and behold, a butterfly has emerged from the chrysalis. But let me warn you, bullying causes scars that don't just disappear with those excess pounds. I haven't even finished Season One and I'm hooked. This one was recommended by the Swedish branch of JayFlix and IS licensed for viewing in the U.S. (Some other tempting ones aren't aired in this country....and Netflix can tell! Grrr....)
Stay tuned. I may do this again some time. Please let me know what you think.