I had intended to watch every episode of Gypsy. After all, out of all the jobs which get considered “Professional,” the occupation of therapy is seen the least. With that said, I have not struggled so much to finish a pilot in quite some time.
Jean (Naomi Watts) has a stable life. She has a loving husband, Michael (Billy Crudup), who is a partner at a law firm. A daughter Dolly (Maren Heary), who may be going through something, but it isn’t clear exactly what yet. But, in general, Jean has all the tools to be happy. Yet she is not.
So, with her being a therapist, hearing her different clients secrets and perspectives, she decides to infiltrate their lives. One by one, she seeks out the people her clients talk about the most. Try to see their side of things. Something which, in turn, she tries to use as she provides advice and maybe nudges her clients into a better understanding.
However, where the line is will surely become a focus as the season goes on.
How vain it is to sit down and write when you’ve not stood up to live.
By the 30 minute mark, I was ready to drop this show and forget about covering the first episode, That is until Sidney (Sophie Cookson) became someone who clearly would be consistent. For there is something about Sidney which, with less development, could be considered a manic pixie dream girl. Well, at least that is the way Sam (Karl Glusman), her ex, describes her. However, as Jean masquerades as Diane, a journalist who writes about people, we see a different side. We get a character who arguably could steal the show and keep you interested. Which is saying something since there isn’t anything else here worth value.
Naomi Watts Makes For a Bore of a Lead
Sadly, what drives a lot of actresses today to TV is ageism and a lack of complex roles in the movie business. However, in pursuit of what is called “Messy” roles, you still need a good actor behind them. You need your Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Lena Headey or etc types. Someone who can command the scene and doesn’t give the vibe that they are as static as the wallpaper.
Something Watts kind of does. She is given what can be considered an interesting role but barely rises to the occasion. Making for, outside of her interactions with Cookson, she bores you to the point of wanting to stop watching. Though, to make matters worse, Watts doesn’t even act as some sort of Trojan Horse.
No Trojan Horse Effect As Backup
Watts is the most recognizable face of Gypsy. Well, at least in terms of media I’ve viewed. However, as noted, Watts doesn’t have that oomph when it comes to Gypsy. Thus making you think, like other Netflix shows with a bore of a lead, maybe there would be a Trojan Horse effect used. Such as pairing her with interesting patients, as the trailer sort of presents. Much less, plant the idea that she was going to manipulate their vulnerability into something interesting.
However, said patients aren’t that interesting. From Sam to Claire (Brenda Vaccaro), who is trying to be an active part in her daughter’s life, to Allison (Lucy Boynton), who is on a downward spiral, there isn’t a one you want to see more of. Much less, see Jean take an active interest in either fixing their life, to be a better therapist to them, or to mess with them for her and ultimately our, entertainment.
On The Fence
You know I have to shout out the non-gender conforming, possibly gay, maybe trans, character. It isn’t clear how big of a role Dolly will have in this but, alongside Daytime Divas, it is interesting how children are being represented more. In terms of being on the gender and sexuality spectrum.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
To me, this seems like a failed attempt at making an award-bait type of show. At least, that is the tone I’m picking up from it. However, as of the first episode, which for a binge-watching network like Netflix is most important, there is no hook. Do I adore Sidney and what Cookson may do with her? Yes. However, Watts is the lead and while I’ve seen more movies of hers than I thought, she is not who I remember from any of them.
So despite a 20+ year career, I’d say Watts should perhaps stick to movies. For Gypsy shows that while some can go back and forth between the two mediums of TV and Film, it isn’t for everyone. Some don’t have that charisma, for a lack of a better term, to follow them over the course of 5+ hours. Be it in one sitting or across multiple weeks. Which there is nothing wrong with.
But what keeps them from being labeled something to skip is Cookson solely. For while not a strong or interesting enough character to say, if prominently featured, you’d have to watch this, she is a silver lining. One who may have the type of career, unlike Watts, who when you look at her IMDB page, you aren’t left thinking “She was in that movie?”