Friday, July 10, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Voice' - Bess Feels Hopeless After Witnessing a Hate Crime Done to Prisha in 'Dear Hope'

AppleTV+'s Little Voice - Episode 1.03 "Dear Hope"

Bess tries creating a song about hope for a songwriting competition, but is left reeling by an incident involving her roommate, Prisha.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s Little Voice.

"Dear Hope" was written by Suzanne Heathcote and directed by Cherien Dabis

It's easy to feel hopeless. That is the sentiment expressed throughout this episode. The audience understands that feeling all too well after likely spending months inside due to the global pandemic. This show almost plays like a fantasy now because it depicts such a drastically different version of New York City. It's one still abuzz with excitement and possibilities. It hasn't been ravaged by a vicious disease. The world could still feel dire and depressing before that though. That is the feeling that encompasses Bess' life. She thinks it's impossible to write an entire song about hope in a day. She has written songs in a short timeframe before. However, she faces pressure because it's for a contest that comes with a major prize. She is excited and absolutely gets her hopes up. She just never seems to find herself in the proper headspace to actually write this song. Her expression wasn't full of hope before this day started. It then took a turn towards tragedy when Prisha is the victim of a hate crime. That is so completely horrifying. It's a moment that defines her character in a more enriching way than the previous episodes have allowed. It's important for the show to expand its focus so that it isn't solely concerned about Bess and her interests in the world. The supporting characters should have full and rewarding lives as well. Prisha presents as Bess' confident best friend. She is the girl who knows how to operate in the world. She is facing pressure from her parents to get married. Mama G has a traditional view of the world. One where her daughter needs a man in her life in order to protect her. It's mostly a safety concern. One that can ease her mind knowing that someone cares about Prisha. Mama G knows that her daughter has such a wonderful friend in Bess. She has actually become a mother figure to her as well. However, she also wants so much more for her daughter. Prisha doesn't believe that she can step away from those expectations because her parents have sacrificed so much just so she could live this life. They took a risk in moving to this country in the hopes of starting something better. Prisha believes she has already asked them to change too many of their expectations. As such, she doesn't feel like she can be her authentic self. Her internalizing that emotion ensures that she is terrified whenever she feels she has to talk about being gay. Bess is more than accepting. She will be there for her friend no matter what. She also hopes for the best. She has a certain relationship and understanding of how Prisha's parents act. Prisha believes she knows them better. She feels she has to fit herself into a box of what is acceptable to them. That may not allow her to be as happy as she deserves. However, it's how she feels at the moment. She isn't ready to talk about this to an extent. She fears losing so much if she were to come out. She knows just how difficult that experience can be. She doesn't want to ruin what she has with her parents. Sometimes change is the push necessary to make people live more fulfilling lives. Bess and Louie are absolutely comfortable with certain routines. He isn't going to get a job if he needs his sister to be by his side in every interview. She knows how to make him feel better. This has been a pattern for her life. She has always been his defender. She may accept something more. She feels proud and willing to write a song about hope in time for the deadline. She gets there because of Ethan who better explains himself. That resolution seems a little forced. The show actively wants to keep him around as a viable romantic option. As such, it's mostly going through the motions about him being friends with Bess. That's awkward and melodramatic. When things are too obvious, it makes the show lose its sense of charm and wonder. So much is effective throughout this episode. It highlights the growth necessary to make it sustainable and entertaining for a long time. And yet, it has certain priorities that are simply too messy to work. Ethan is a plot construct that has been utilized by other projects too many times. Sure, the show fundamentally states that it's important to keep hope alive. Bess' song in the end is great. But the narrative can also have more consistency when it comes to how Bess seeks out support in her life while finding the inspiration she needs whenever she needs it.