Review of Harry and Meghan – I’ve almost had my breakfast Television and Radio
WWell, it’s Christmas for Netflix. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have delivered the first goblets of “educational or entertainment” material contracted to produce as part of their £112m deal with the streaming platform. Six episodes have been made of Harry and Meghan, an up-close and personal documentary of their life together. Divided into two “volumes” of three, the first volume is now reduced. Like a turrd in a stocking, the royal family may feel – but for the rest of us it’s entertainment, and indeed an education of sorts. Mainly because of how right the late queen was for her entire 70-year reign.
The Sussexes are clearly suffering, in a way most of us will never experience. Whether they suffered as much as they thought was another question. At one point, Harry marvels that his wife first gave up everything for him – by giving up her life in the US and joining him and the royal family in England – and then she gave up everything for him by leaving the royal family and joining. Its in the United States. Which is totally true and not true at the same time. A feeling that persists throughout the three hours of insight/non-insight we’ve been gifted so far.
There are many private photos from the couple’s early marriage, and that they were and will be deeply in love — unless they’re both Oscar-winning actors — is beyond dispute. There is plenty of archive footage of “my mother” – Diana, Princess of Wales – being crushed by hordes of photographers. The Sussexes spent a lot of time together in charming and funny interviews (“Maybe they were surprised that a ginger could land such a beautiful woman,” says Harry, recalling the first meeting of the Windsors with Meghan). Little time is spent interviewing Harry’s friends and more time is spent on Meghan, who praises her acting, her empathy, her activism. “She’s fed by service,” one says, which took me a moment to realize and then another moment to suppress my rising appetite.
The first episode ends with the story of Harry’s childhood, happy secret romance and their breakup. The second covered Meghan’s childhood, the undoubtedly racist coverage of the engagement – one of the early headlines described “Harry’s girl” as “(almost) straight out of Compton” – and the stark obscurity of much of the social media commentary. The third covers the history of British slavery and the monarchy’s central role in it, Harry’s dealing with his “unconscious bias”, his happy years in the army and Meghan’s family break-up before the wedding, courtesy of what appears to be her father and half-sister’s desperate desire to talk to the tabloids. Any negative stories they can get.
But in the end – what are we left with? Just the same story we’ve always known, told the way we want to hear it from the people telling it. Those who don’t care won’t watch. Those who care — which is to say obsessively invested in real-life soap operas — will still read into it what they want and will no doubt confirm all their preconceived notions. There’s plenty here to start another round of tabloid frenzy, especially with reference to Harry’s royals who consider the pressure on anyone to “marry” a passage and prevent anyone else from having to go through what their own spouse has been through. . , and who succumb to internal pressures to choose a wife who “fits the mold.” Which is to say – outside of the media, it’s hard to see how villains would really benefit from this? A period of silence should be welcomed.
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