Sunday, December 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'Dare Me' - Coach Colette French Arrives in Sutton Grove to Steer the Cheer Squad to Greatness in 'Coup D'État'

USA's Dare Me - Episode 1.01 "Coup D'État"

The arrival of the starry new cheer coach Colette French threatens Addy and Beth's tight bond.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of USA's Dare Me.

"Coup D'État" was written by Megan Abbott & Gina Fattore and directed by Steph Green

There is a foreboding sense of familiarity throughout this premiere. The series begins with a flash-forward detailing something tragic though mysterious is about to occur. High school students plot their ways of getting out of their small town and avoid getting trapped here like their parents did. A community rallies around a local sports team in the hopes that love can pull them back from the point of economic decline. Female friendships are continually tested as maturity and emotions evolve at different paces. And yet, there is an odd propulsive quality to the show as well. The execution is actually quite interesting. It takes these familiar pieces in order to form a narrative about how people can share similar ambitions but be so uncertainty about the reality awaiting them as seen through the eyes of others. Addy and Beth are best friends. Addy will support Beth when new cheer coach Colette comes in with changes for how the squad is run. However, there is an underlying resentment flowing through this friendship. At times, the admiration and attraction is palpable between them. They have love and respect for each other. Other times, a monstrous hatred is present that shows just how destructive the bonds between people can actually become. Any quick glance could inform so much. A look can be used to share one's intentions with another without having to say a word. But there remains the uncertainty with how effective teenage girls are as communicators. Addy understands Beth. But she too may be afraid that she is willing to let Tacy fall atop the pyramid just to exert her own sense of dominance and control over this squad. Beth is used to getting her way. That could come from a sense of privilege and influence in this community. Her father is a major real estate developer who seems to be offering the town of Sutton Grove a reason to remain hopeful about their prospects. He is an eager supporter of the cheer squad and sees them as the role models for everyone to place their hopes and dreams on. That may also allow these girls to get away with so much amoral and heinous behavior. They abuse each other in the name of being the best. They aren't even close to that. Coach French is hired in order to propel the squad to a regional and state title. A lot of pressure is awaiting her at this new job. She too is trying to manage expectations while projecting a sense of not wanting to be here. This can absolutely be a depressive piece that details the decay of small town America. These rural areas are collapsing because there is no sense of common purpose or the ability to build something more. Colette may have valid advice in saying an exit plan needs to contain more than just an exit. That may doom a person to landing right back at where they started. Addy's mother wants her to be much more practical and pragmatic with her expectations. And yet, Addy already has a large burden she has to carry. She has to provide emotional support to Beth because her life is one defined by absent parents who are incapable of loving her. She has turned away after years of wanting this family to work out. As such, she demands loyalty and absolute love from her closest friends on the cheer squad. Even the glimpse of admiration for the new coach is seen as an attack against her. It's such violent extremes that percolate throughout this world. That's the way that life may function. Those who are the most eager and hopeful about life have aspirations far beyond this town. They may have to face adult problems at a younger age while carrying the scandalous nature of secrets they shouldn't have to. Addy and Beth catch Colette having an affair with Will, the army recruiter at the high school. That too showcases just how distant people can be and how normal this perception of infidelity can come across. Beth may view it as leverage to use in order to gain more power. Addy sees it as a private moment that has to be forgotten about and respected. But it will create a sense of dread and danger much more effectively than some thin tease about tragedy to come. The premiere is very evocative and methodical in that way.