I was originally attracted to HBO’s Mrs. Fletcher based on its teaser trailer. That is, it seemed to be an interesting, albeit plain, story of a circumstance I have over the past few years have increasing been experiencing, though not personally.
The show tells the story of the life changes currently affecting a number of my colleagues and former classmates as they transition from being parents of growing children to “empty nesters”. Accordingly, I thought it would be interesting to compare the stories I’ve heard, and situations I experienced, to how it is portrayal on television. Indeed, how often does life imitate art, or art imitate life while you’re right there to witness it?
I must say, in viewing the first two episodes, the show gets a lot right about the vibe of a newly empty-nested parent. For instance, like in the show, I do know people who have taken the opportunity of their kids going off to college to attempt a range of activities that they had always wanted to do but that other non-parent adults might think is silly. Things such as taking a writing class, getting a tattoo or earring, or even attempting to climb the highest mountains. It also gets right the aspect of parenting in which parents believe the side of their kids that they know and see, is the full picture of the kid’s personality, without understanding or realizing that there is, or can be, a darker side.
For this, the cast, especially Kathryn Hahn who plays Mrs. Fletcher, and Jackson White, who plays her son, Brendan, are exceptional in their abilities. The two have a solid chemistry that fairly approximates the relationship between a rather geeky mother and her jock-bro son. For instance, in the first episode, there is a great scene where Mrs. Fletcher is trying to explain to her son that he knows he has had sex, and that going forward, he needs to take into consideration the feelings of the women he’s partnered with. It is both cringingly awkward and soulfully endearing.
In short, Mrs. Fletcher, so far, has been a solid show, with good performances. Having said that, the problem with the show is that I do not see it having much appeal to anyone outside of viewers in the same situation as Mrs. Fletcher. Its target audience seems pretty narrow, and it while not likely ever gain mass appeal. However, if it can attract a target audience, there is a strong possibility that their support to will sustain it for quite a few years.
Written by lao.san on Nov 4, 2019