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Monday, May 28, 2018

Drama Review: She's Gotta Have It TV and movie

She's Gotta Have It - 10 episodes 30 minutes each

Nola Darling is an artist in Brooklyn and a sex-positive, polyamorous pan-sexual. She's seeing three men at the same time: chill Mars, serious Jamie and narcissistic Greer. They all see her differently: a freak, property and sex addict. This drama is for mature audience only and spoilers ahead.

I watched the TV series first and then later on the movie it was based on. Let's talk about the TV series. I love the creative elements of the show. The hashtag titles. The soundtrack and the album covers for each song are shown. Nola has two art styles/persona. The one that makes art for a living and the other who makes secret feminist street art after being attacked. But as strong and sure as Nola is with her artistic voice, Nola is unreliable and far from perfect with her relationships and life choices.  I didn't like she used Opal as she cleansed from men. Opal deserves better than that. She depended on Jamie's payment for her expenses. Buying that black dress even though she's broke. Always late for anything. And oh yeah. Dating three men all at the same time. The ending was powerful, surreal and ambiguous. For a moment there I thought they are going to have an orgy hahaha Did I just say that out loud? We all want some fun and excitement that Mars and Greer brings. But in real life, Jamie brings security and stability. Don't worry, we'll probably know by second season of who she will pick among the three. But if you don't want to be spoiled, you can skip on the movie review after this.

Even though the plot is reverse harem, the show is more than one. It touches so many real-life issues we have now. The objectification of women, feminism and #BlackLivesMatter. I'm afraid though I will not be able to do justice in discussing these points.   I never breach on anything political as I feel I'm not the best person to talk about it but let me try. See, this is still my passive-aggressive side talking. 

I realized now that reverse harem is a form of feminism. We live in a world where men having polygamous relationships is tolerated with the excuse that it's the nature of men while women doing the same are frowned up or slut-shamed. Especially living in the predominantly Catholic country, I am guilty of this too and I worry about the connotation people think when I explain what reverse harem is.

With the onset of reverse harem books, I sometimes imagine The Ghost Bird getting a TV adaptation but then I think of how non-reverse harem audience will react to Sang being in love with all the boys at the same time and vice versa. It's easy to be nonchalant with animes but Western setting is trickier. It's closer to real life. But seeing there is a market now for reverse harem English novels, maybe people are ready now. The next question now is what if it's not fiction but a reality. Where there is no fantasy or tropes generating reverse harem conditions but just sexuality. Are we as open-minded or forgiving?

In otome game localization in North America, the trend is to localize otome game that will appeal to male players too or downplay the feminine aspect as tweeted by estearisa:

I also see a lot of disappointed Kenka Bancho Otome fans after getting their hopes high with localization after winning the survey. Got me thinking if they prioritize male gamers. 

Now, let's move to the movie it was based on. The movie was released in 1986 and one of the landmark independent films in US. It also launched Spike Lee as a director. The movie earned 7.1 million from a budget of $175,000. Spike Lee also played Mars here while the actress for Nola (Tracy Camilla Jones) had cameo in the TV version. The movie was purely reverse harem since it was just short. It also answered a lot of questions and it was straightforward with all the issues. It also explained the elements of the movie. Like the title of the movie. The opening music for the TV. The three-headed monster. Everything was simpler like with the psychologist and her relationships with them. Their personalities are different though. Nola was much more fun while the men are obnoxious. In the TV, I find it a cliche that they use her being an artist as an excuse to be pansexual. If she was working for a different industry that is not related to arts, will we be able to accept it? Turns out in the movie she wasn't a painter but still related with arts, she works in a magazine. Also, she didn't live in the Brownstone and Jamie wasn't married here. There's nudity and the latter version suddenly became tamer compared to the movie. And of course everything was through analog telephone. Lol I loved the Nola here but I loved the trio from the TV. The only that left a bitter taste for me was the rape scene. Spike Lee also realized that later on and it's a good thing that he was given a chance to re-do it with a version which celebrates women and raise relevant issues we have now. The movie was shown in black and white but it had one scene in color. It reminded me of Rashomon and turns out Spike Lee was inspired of that too. After watching the movie, I realized the nagging feeling I've had while watching the TV show about how their last names are like their personalities. Darling, Overstreet, Childs... Well except Blackmon. Must be a pun? I dunno.

I think it's best to watch the TV series first with the current social issues but the movie is a good supplementary but still a classic on its own. Unlike in the TV, she made a choice here. Herself. No man can define her. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for bringing awareness to this show and stepping out the box. I love how unbiased your site is and that you explore every and anything that has reverse harem. But as you said this show is more than that. It's a movement, cultural awareness, bringing up touchy/taboo topics, causing discomfort, making the viewers look within themselves... it's quite a masterpiece!


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