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'The OA' Is A Dead-Eyed Whisper Marmot of Boredom

By Jodi Smith | TV | December 17, 2016 |

By Jodi Smith | TV | December 17, 2016 |

Whenever Netflix gets a new original series or movie, you cannot seem to avoid it whenever you visit their site. In the case of new series The OA,I had to use the search function to add it to my queue. That was not a promising start, especially when considering the low-key marketing and premiere announcement.

The series begins with a failed suicide attempt and the pronouncement of our lead character that she is The OA. After Prairie’s parents see their missing daughter on YouTube, they bring her home to an invasive town with questions about her regained sight and sudden appearance after a 7 year absence. It is clear from Prairie’s interview with police that something strange occupied her last few years.

What follows is the usual “parents coming to terms with missing child being returned,” an array of American Beauty-esque videos, and the introduction of an asshole neighborhood bully and drug dealer. There may be some great reveal at the end of this whole thing, but I’m not interested in a broken girl saving some asshole kid to save herself. That’s saying something since I’m so nosy that I read Wikipedia entries of movies I’ll never watch just so I’ll know what happens. Not the case here.

Brit Marling is somehow the least expressive person in the series, which is bad news for the lead. Her Prairie goes from blank/sad to wistful/blank and to determined/blank at the speed of boredom. She’s delivers monotone lines like she wants to use as little oxygen as possible. I think the intent was to be mysterious and enigmatic, but they missed the mark.

The writing is cheesy, trying to find depth and speak on it where there is none. There is talk of teaching yourself, being sensitive to the dimension and its hopelessness, blah blah blah. I was out by the time Prairie/OA convinced a teacher that it was her fault the asshole neighbor Steve needed her help and that was why he punched a classmate in the throat, leaving him unable to sing in nationals.

I don’t need to watch a television series about giving violent white men a pass when living in the world we do. It’s problematic, frustrating, and I have no wish to spend time watching another magical girl fix a broken white man. So, I turned The OA off before the end of the first episode. If you can overlook the try-hard, the writing, and the acting, perhaps you will find it more appealing.