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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Baby Reindeer: Is there ever really a good guy?

Richard Gadd Baby Reindeer Creator delivering standup, Glasgow 2011.
Richard Freeman
Richard Gadd Baby Reindeer Creator delivering standup, Glasgow 2011.

Baby Reindeer is Netflix’s most recent success story and arguably one of their best as it delves into topics such as stalking, sexual assault, and the sheer complexity of what it means to be human crafting a well written and gut wrenchingly personnel tale.

The events of the show, while fictionalized, are largely based on the real life experiences of creator Richard Gadd and the women who stalked him, dubbed in the series as Martha.

The series opens in the pub where Gadd’s character, Donny Dunne, works in the midst of a fledgling comedy career; a seemingly bland life is thrown upside down with the emergence of Martha.

The dynamic between Dunne and Martha is incredibly well written. It seems like a typical stalker-victim relationship but slowly unravels as they become two broken people handling it in drastically yet equally horrific ways.

Dunne refuses to fully expel Martha from his life, keeping her around as she views him how he wants to be seen. His strange relationship with her even leads him to be caught outside her house, mimicking similar behavior.

Acting is a strong suit of the show, as the entire cast offers beautiful and complicated performances that truly communicate the nuance of each situation.

The writing does a great job of ensuring that no one is the good guy, which is the show’s most vital point. It makes you realize we can’t expect black-and-white behavior from such emotional moments.

It offers a view into a complicated situation that does a great job of making you feel like you’re watching your friends go through something and make bad decisions rather than watching characters on a screen.

The show’s other strong suit is its atmosphere; the settings, camera angles, and costume design are well crafted, creating scenes that immerse you in Gadd’s world so you feel trapped, sad, and confused along with him.

Baby Reindeer truly shines, however, in the second half of the show, where Dunne begins to explain his back story of how he got to his situation.

He recalls being taken advantage of by a TV producer who lures him in with promises of fame and fortune. This emotional episode stays with you long after it’s finished.

This insight into Dunnes’s back story will keep you riveted for the rest of the series, as each interaction with Martha makes more sense, and each destructive behavior he engages in becomes painfully understandable.

No behavior is worse than the way Dunne handles his relationship with Teri, a trans woman whom he falls deeply in love with, yet his shame stops him from committing himself to her even after Marhta assaults Teri in a bar.

Teri’s character meshes perfectly with the show. She’s there to question Donny the way we would all want to while offering him comfort in his time of need despite the hardships he puts her through.

By the time she leaves Donny, we, as the audience, begin to feel her absence, and we’re left to watch Donny struggle to pick up the pieces of his life.

By the end of the show, Dunne has lost everything that ever meant something to him, culminating in one of the best monologue performances, in which Dunne pours his heart out about all his struggles and difficulties.

The ending wraps it up beautifully with Martha’s heartfelt voicemail explaining why she loves Dunne so much, tearing an already broken man entirely apart.

Baby Reindeers’ flaws are small, mostly due to the fact that the episodes aren’t long enough and can move quite fast.

Despite this, the show is an unbelievable achievement for Gadd and an easy 10/10. I would recommend it to anyone; however, be warned of the heavy subject matter.


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About the Contributor
Peyton Oliveira
Peyton Oliveira, Staff Writer
Peyton Oliveira is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering sports, campus and community news. When not reporting he enjoys writing screenplays, listening to music and reading books. He is hoping to start an independent MMA journalism outlet and transfer to a Cal State.
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