Wednesday, January 8, 2020

REVIEW: 'Party of Five' - The Acosta Children Are Left Reeling After Their Parents Are Deported to Mexico in 'Pilot'

Freeform's Party of Five - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

The five Acosta children - Emilio, Lucia, Beto, Valentina and baby Rafa - navigate the daily life struggles to survive as a family unit after their parents are suddenly deported to Mexico.

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 Freeform's Party of Five.

"Pilot" was written by Amy Lippman, Christopher Keyser & Michal Zebede and directed by Rodrigo García

The immigration lawyer for Javier and Gloria Acosta argues that the heartbreak done to this family as a result of the government's policies is so extreme and severe that it should be avoided at all costs. This is a family that deserves to stay together. However, the judge argues that the law is written in such a specific way that it can't embrace universal concepts like heartbreak in order to avoid a ruling for deportation. It means that the parents will be sent back to Mexico. The five Acosta children will have to grow up without them physically in their lives. It's so incredibly emotional while delving directly into the humanitarian crisis happening right now in this country. Lucia is upset and angry that this is happening to her parents. She views it as the government having no compassion for them and the hard work they have brought to create such a beautiful life here. They have resilient and noble spirits that shine brightly. They should be viewed as the very best of the immigrant experience. Instead, they are targeted, belittled and condemned because of the color of their skin. The overwhelming narrative is that they don't belong here. And so, they are sent back to the country they left 23 years ago. Emilio's fate may also be unknown. He is a DACA recipient. He is now the sole guardian for his four siblings. At first, it takes him weeks to truly be there for them instead of giving it his all to launch a music career for himself. That's where his passion is. However, he may have to stop chasing his own dream in order to step up and care for his family. That's the personal responsibility he eventually feels. It's what this situation forces him into doing. All of the children are struggling because the government failed to take into account the emotional wreckage that comes from this decision. The judge certainly has empathy in this case and sympathy for the family. That isn't enough to change the law or the policies. It's frustrating. It forces these siblings to grow up in ways they didn't expect. All of this responsibility is now forced onto Emilio. Meanwhile, Lucia is acting out at school because she sees a world that will always retaliate against her no matter how many times she proves her worth to society. That isn't fair. However, it's the startling reality she has to face. She has long been on her own path towards success. She doesn't have a close bond with her twin brother, Beto. He has always struggled in school and has even started skipping because keeping the family restaurant afloat is more important. None of these kids know how to run a business. In fact, it was a struggle for the parents as well. The finances aren't there to ensure security. It is tenuous for everyone involved. There is forever the hope that this family can visit each other as often as they can and Skype every night. The realities of life may make that more difficult. This premiere deals with all of these heavy emotions upfront. It needs to drastically change the lives of the Acosta children. Valentina may be wise beyond her years. But she too is just an innocent young girl who needs to be protected from the horrors of the world around her. These actions are forcing children to grow up long before they should have to. It's the pressure faced by those struggling to get by in the world. Javier and Gloria are happy and love everything they have built together in America. They understand that it's better for their infant son to remain with his siblings instead of crossing the border into the unknown with them in Mexico. It's devastating for them. They don't want to say goodbye. It's unfair that they have to ask their children to embrace this burden. They have the willingness to step up. But again, the world may continually deliver them shocking twists that conspire to tear them apart. They can agree on how to care for the baby over the course of a night. However, remaining a family will take more actions than just that. There is always reason to be hopeful. But it's also so easy for these siblings to turn on each other and blame the other for the problems they have to deal with now collectively. Emilio may place the family in debt because he hires a lawyer who doesn't ultimately win. He did that in order to preserve this family and give his siblings the love they need. It didn't go in his favor. And yet, he has the willingness to offer all the support he has. That may not be enough. But the show follows the earnest message that no obstacle is too difficult to overcome so long as this family stays together no matter what.