You know how it is. You feel as though you have a connection, that you’ve developed an understanding to the point you can almost read each other’s thoughts. Then, without warning, something happens and you realize that everything you believed in was a house of cards built on shifting sands after an unexpected Pandora’s worm is opened. In this instance, I thought Netflix and I were friends. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
It began with an email, one that seemed to be doing me a favour rather than the full-throated yodel of betrayal that it was. It began by saying, ‘Stuart, we just added a TV show you might like.’ It sounds harmless. Until, of course, you scroll down and discover the television program in question is the latest from Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop’ series. If that wasn’t enough to catapult your breakfast back over your lips, this one has ‘intimacy’ as its focus.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not angry with Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m not a fan of ‘Goop’ and from a scientific point of view ‘Goop’ and Gwyneth are unlikely to get ‘The Curiousity Show’ stamp of approval. Indeed, Rob and Deane are notable for their absence from any of Goop’s promotional activities. It’s Netflix with whom I’m disappointed. How could they possibly get it so wrong? After all the time we’ve spent together, they really don’t know me at all.
They caught me off guard by sending an email that addressed me by name. This brazen act of familiarity was all the more surprising given they’ve never acknowledged any of my emails or suggestions. (Sample idea – choosing who reads the ‘dubbed’ version. I, for one, would welcome the cast of ‘Star Wars’ reading ‘The Squid Games’.)
I immediately analyzed my viewing history. For the past couple of months, I’ve been obsessed with European mysteries. They’ve been set in a variety of countries – France, Belgium, Poland, Iceland and Finland. I’ve been watching them with subtitles rather than dubbed in the misguided belief that this will help me learn another language. So far, all I’ve learned is the word for ‘okay’ in France, Belgium, Poland, Iceland and Finland is…. ‘okay’. I can’t say the word ‘goop’ has been uttered by anyone, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘goop’ was Icelandic for ‘oddly-scented candle’.
It’s hard to see the link between European police procedurals and a show that promises ‘Courageous couples on a journey towards pleasure and deeper intimacy’. Frankly, watching that does not sound like my idea of a good night in. Pleasingly, it then suggests that these couples will be assisted on their journey by ‘Gwyneth Paltrow and a team of experts’. I, for one, appreciate that Gwyneth has been excluded from the team of experts for reasons most likely associated with consumer and competition law. Although, for the sake of completeness, I would have preferred the blurb to take a leaf out of a newscaster’s book and add the word ‘alleged’ immediately before the word ‘expert’.
I should be used to it. Who amongst us hasn’t had a birthday and received a gift from someone they love that was completely and utterly off the mark? A Celine Dion box set? Tickets to an Andre Rieu concert that aren’t for the sole purpose of heckling? A lifetime membership of the Bros fan club? Let’s be honest – even those that know us well get things catastrophically wrong occasionally. Maybe I should cut Netflix a bit of slack. The answer, perhaps, lies in me not criticizing Netflix but in returning the favour with suggestions of my own.
It seemed only appropriate that I write back. I did so with a series of suggestions for well, series, they might well like to commission. Firstly, I noted the success of the film ‘Eurovision’ starring Will Ferrell. Few people know that Johnny Logan, also known as ‘Mr. Eurovision’, was born in Frankston. The new Netflix series will follow my efforts to have a forty-foot statue of Johnny Logan built, modeled on Rio’s ‘Christ the Redeemer’, and plonked on top of Oliver’s Hill.
After the success of their series, ‘The Last Dance’, perhaps a hard-hitting sporting documentary based on the 1985 season of the Tyabb Yabbies football club under 15s as they reach the dizzy heights of second last place on the league ladder. It will make history as they first series to be in English with English subtitles. I, for one, am ready to spill the beans. My last suggestion centres around my lawnmower. I’m not saying that it should star in its own series – only that there are better things to do than watch television, particularly when ‘Goop’ is on.
I know that Gwyneth Paltrow is a regular reader of this column, so I’ll choose my words carefully. I won’t be watching the latest installment from the ‘Goop’ franchise. I’ll be too busy mowing the lawn and using the clippings to build a model of my Johnny Logan statue. If that doesn’t suit the people at Netflix, then as they like to say in Finland, ‘okay’.