I have set myself this ridiculous challenge of watching and reviewing new Netflix drama You Me Her so that you don’t have to. I was really, really hoping to have more nice things to say but as it is, I think I’m going to have to get through this by making fun of it mercilessly. You can follow what I think as I’m watching at #CKWatchesYouMeHer.
The premise is simple: a married couple invite a young college student, who also happens to be an escort, into their relationship. Things go about as well as can be expected.
Episode 1 – Cigarettes and Funions and Crap – opens with suburban white married couple, Jack and Emma, at what we assume is a couple’s counselling session, bemoaning the fact that they don’t have kids yet and lying about how often they have sex. Cliche the first. We meet their equally boring and suburban neighbours in two minutes of screen time that serve absoluely no purpose whatsoever except to illustrate that Emma is friends with the wife of the couple next door. Okie-dokie then.
Coming home late from a night out, Emma walks in on Jack masturbating and things get weirdly sex-shamey. Yes, he’s a grown man who likes to masturbate. Deal with it. (On a completely unrelated aside, can the notion that people in relationships don’t/shouldn’t masturbate just die in a fire already?) They have some weird, aggressive and totally unsexy sex wherein she tries to get him to spank her and he doesn’t seem keen.
Eight minutes in, I tweet “this is about as romantic as a root canal.” Also, weren’t jokes about married couples not liking sex any more fresh and edgy in about… 1842?
Jack is advised to cheat on his wife with an escort, in order to save their marriage/sex life, by his brother. For some inexplicable reason, he goes for it straight away and we are subjected to his excruciating date with young escort ‘Izzy’ (inexplicably her real name. Nothing about this show makes any sense.) For our next cliche here, we have “college students who are also escorts to pay the rent.” (“But we’re ESCORTS, not h**kers, which is totally different because sex work stigma or something, no-one seems to have a convincing argument for this…?”)
The dialogue throughout this show is so badly written it’s painful. Jack comes out with such gems as “you are also unhideous,” to which Izzy replies “that’s cool. D’you wanna make out?” SEXY. The writers do, however, get in a ‘unicorn’ quip, for which I have nothing but respect.
He rips her shirt. They make out for like two minutes and then he realises he “CAN’T DO THIS” and right on cue Emma calls and Izzy just leaves. That’s like three cliches in one, yes? Actually, this probably some nice foreshadowing for what’s to come when a horribly dysfunctional triad inevitably materialises out of this mess. At home, Jack confesses to Emma and she’s understandably pissed. Sadly, this mainly comes out as anti-sex work rhetoric and her wanting to see pictures of Izzy. Because “does she have nicer skin than me?” (something Emma worries about in the next scene) is totally a bigger issue than her husband having massively and deliberately violated her trust.
We cut to, presumably, a day or two later. Emma is out with her friend Neighbour Lady (I need to look up the character’s name even though she serves no actual purpose thus far) and telling her about Jack’s tryst with Izzy. Neighbour Lady asks Emma what she’s going to do… and then poof! Izzy appears in a puff of unicorn glitter (okay, not quite) and asks for “Lola.” Because the totally sane thing to do when your husband cheats on you with an escort is hire the same escort yourself.
We’re seventeen minutes in and I’m tweeting, “this show is 1000% ludicrous.”
Izzy is drunk because she’s never been on a date with a woman before, and she awkwardly toe-fucks Emma under the table. Only the tablecloth isn’t even very long, so everyone in the restaurant can see their drunken, extremely unsexy toe sex. These two have less than zero chemistry and their subsequent kiss in the bathroom a few minutes later (after Emma confesses who she is and grabs Izzy in a way that totally bypasses even the most cursory consideration for consent) reminds me of all the worst bits of The L Word mashed together into one. And it’s about as realistic.
Emma confesses to Jack what she’s done and he seems surprisingly fine with it. She also drops in here that she’s been with women before. How can you be married to someone for many years and not tell them a huge detail like that you’re bisexual!? The fact that she’s cheated is glossed over, because it’s not really cheating when it’s between two women, is it? (Spoiler alert: it is.)
We’re twenty-one minutes in and I’m getting a bit angry.
In the next scene, Jack hangs around outside Izzy’s building and presses the buzzer repeatedly until she comes along and talks to him. Can anyone say STALKER ALERT? Seriously, this behaviour is creepy as hell and not okay. He then goes home to Emma and goes down on her on the kitchen floor (without removing or even moving her dress at all, because that’s how TV Sex works) while Izzy goes home and cries because she’s sick of getting caught up in other people’s bullshit and wants to quit escorting.
This show has all the hallmarks of “cute young bi women exist to save failing cishet marriages” and, by the time the credits roll on episode 1, I’m thoroughly unimpressed and possibly even a bit depressed.
A ridiculous premise. Characters I am totally incapable of caring about. Plot holes out the wazoo. Sex-negativity, sex worker stigma and gross stereotypes. Literally the only thing this show has going for it is the fact that it’s brought something that might, kinda, vaguely resemble polyamory (if you squint hard) to mainstream TV screens.