Oct. 30, 2020

Can't Stop Extra: the Gutsy Rom-Com The Duchess

Can't Stop Extra: the Gutsy Rom-Com The Duchess

 In this episode, I talk about the hilarious, often crude new Netflix rom-com series The Duchess starring comedian/actress/writer Katherine Ryan.


<p>A lot of the material for The Duchess seems to have been inspired by this Katherine Ryan Netflix special.</p>


In this can't stop extra, The anti-rom com: the dysfunctional, crude comedy and romance of The Duchess

Have you ever wondered if Fleabag had a long-term relationship with The hot priest what might have happened? Maybe if they had a child together? 

It might've gone a bit like The Duchess, the new Netflix miniseries starring Canadian comedian/actress Katherine Ryan.

Let me start off by saying some of these clips are very crude. Very. Verrrry explicit. This is modern love, a gutsy rom com. This ain't no polite costume drama.

 If that’s not your type of humor, I just published an episode on the 19th century suspense romance The Woman in White. Definitely tune into that – it's a fabulous miniseries.

 Okay … just us here?

What I really love about The Dutchess is I knew nothing about Ryan or the series when I tuned in, so it's shock value came at me full power.

At its core, this miniseries is about the love of a single mother for her child while at the same time navigating and messing up the many frustrations of this crazy complicated world while trying to raise that child: schooling, relationships with exes, current relationships, housing, her art career sculpting slightly racy representations of the female form as vases…

It could be summed up by: being a young single mother in 2020 is hard, bishes! She is the mama bear mommy on steroids. And the girlfriend from hell. What saves Ryan from being just an awful character is her core of vulnerability  her trying so hard to keep control of all these crazy moving parts.

Growing up in a family where the adults had, let's say, problems managing their feelings appropriately, I can relate to expressing my anger in Inappropriate ways as Katherine does. 

I'm sure none of us have pretended to be better people than we are or have even thought these thoughts, let alone said them out loud. Never… 

[film clip]

The catalyst for the action is Katherine's desire to give her nine-year-old daughter the sibling she's always wanted. First she decides to visit a sperm bank — with her daughter ON her birthday as a birthday present. That doesn't go super well.

 Then Katherine's best friend and business partner reminds her that her ex gave her a pretty awesome child (her daughter Olive is played by Katy Byrne, who is amazing) so why not try him again? 

He's a former member of a boy band and currently lives on a houseboat in  a canal in London and steals food because he's mad at the man. He's charming and loves their daughter but often self-centered and irresponsible.

[film clip]

OK, so that turns into a disaster so Katherine thinks: hey what about adoption? You have to admire her spirit.

The adoption counselor is less than impressed with their situation.. This is Kathrine’s goodbye to her on her front doorstep. 

[film clip]

This scene is followed by the opening credits! The fact that this is the cold open to the episode had me picking my jaw up off the floor.

Amidst all this is Katherine's sweet, caring, long-suffering dentist boyfriend. He is the kindest, most supportive partner you could hope to have when you're overstressed, parenting alone and your hormones may need to be adjusted.

The series winds up  in the sweetest way, open ended enough for a second season. I really wanted to spend more time with this little dysfunctional family. This rom com is far from everyone's cup of tea, but if you like your romantic comedies with a strong dash of authenticity and realness, this is the show for you.

Thanks for listening. Until next time, happy shame-free romance!