Netflix's Gypsy: For women who love women
By Georgia Wright
Image: Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix
I won’t lie to you - Gypsy wasn’t the best. It could have been the best, I wanted it to be the best so much, but it just wasn’t. It was however, beautiful to look at, well written (for the most part) and rather enchanting to watch.
Before I get into it, I shall provide you with a very brief (but extremely accurate) breakdown of the show’s story - perhaps stop reading now if you are worried about spoilers. Naomi Watts plays Mrs Jean Holloway, an established Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, who lives a very comfortable life in Connecticut. She plays the doting mother to her daughter Dolly, and attempts to play the doting wife to her husband Michael (Billy Crudup), who spends almost the entire season attempting to uncover the skeletons Jean is keeping in her closet. Although all he actually manages to find in there is a packet of Marlboro Red’s.
It is hard to fully explain to you the intricacies of Gypsy’s plot. It is a delicate storyline, with each episode adding another layer that the audience are never really sure they will be able to peel back. So as it stands, Gypsy is a psychosexual drama that centres on therapist Jean Holloway, who has grown bored of suburban life, and takes to New York City to create a whole new life for herself. Faced with a solid brick wall of commitment issues, and what I can only describe as an inescapable horniness, Jean changes her name to Diane Hart, an alter-ego if you will. Through Diane, Jean uses her incredible power of manipulation and sexuality, to intertwine herself in the life of her patients.
Although the show explores Diane’s eerie presence in a few of her patients’ lives, Gypsy largely revolves around her relationship with Sidney Pierce. Performed exquisitely by Sophie Cookson, Sidney is the ex-girlfriend of Jean’s patient Sam. After hearing Sam’s turmoil in multiple therapy sessions, Diane sets her sights on the young barista - and the two form one of the most intense on-screen relationships I have seen to date.
"As a rule, LGBT relationships tend to remain at a gay kind of surface level in the mainstream media"
It is this relationship I came for, as did many others. To be completely honest we came for the hot lesbians, and stayed for the hot lesbians. Because sadly, Gypsy had a lot of potential - but failed to live up to most of it.
Despite this, I would challenge anyone reviewing Gypsy to find issues with its cast. In my opinion, it is what saved it entirely. Naomi Watts was enchanting to watch, her performance so convincing that a lot of the time I felt like I was also being manipulated by her character. Cookson, much like her character Sidney, seduced the audience, and I’m pretty sure everyone fell in love with her for one reason or another. Their relationship was explored wholly and deeply. This kind of exploration was refreshing to see - as a rule, LGBT relationships tend to remain at a gay kind of surface level in the mainstream media.
Gypsy fully explores the sexuality of strong, independent women. I think sometimes Hollywood tends to forget that women are sexual creatures too. Not only that, but that women too can be sexually dominant. Surprisingly, we are not all quaking with excitement at the thought of My Grey’s whip cupboard. A ‘straight’ woman’s sexuality extends so much further than any man, and it was rewarding to see Gypsy explore that.
There is so much about Gypsy that I loved, but I can’t deny the fact that as the credits rolled on the final episode, I was left with this kind of ‘oh’ feeling. I want to make clear, that this wasn’t because of anything the show did, but more so because of what the show failed to do. Towards the end of the series, Jean becomes so deeply entangled in her web of lies that even she struggles to stay on top of them. The entire final episode makes the audience feel like we are about to see the world’s biggest shit storm. We are made to think there’s going to be fireworks and man-eating sharks and an explosion so big you can feel it from miles away.
There was nothing. Nothing but a poor attempt at a cliff-hanger that borderlines laziness. The thing is- I feel bad saying all of this, because truthfully, I enjoyed Gypsy. I really liked it a lot. I knew a lot critics didn’t, but the majority of critics tend to not like film or TV that is so heavily dependent on women. Especially women who kiss other women. So, I didn’t take any notice of that.
"I stuck with it to the bitter and lacklustre end"
Gypsy’s plot was delicate and intricate- the build-up was thick, but slow. Imagine the way thick hot lava moves as it slowly slides down the side of its volcano. This was something I enjoyed, I knew a few close friends of mine had found it too slow and given up - but I stuck with it to the bitter and lacklustre end. I think the writers had done a fantastic job of exploring deep and meaningful relationships. They had mastered the rhythm of events, almost like you could see them fitting together those puzzle pieces. But I think this is what they got caught up in. The slow and steady pace that had worked throughout the entirety of the show was maintained until the very end. In my opinion, the last episode should have turned the entire thing on its head, like a piece of bubble gum pulled from between your teeth - long and drawn out, until eventually - snap.
I can only hope that the ending was so tame, because series two is going to absolutely blow all our minds. I want series two to start with such a bang, that I have to delete this review and apologise for it. Until then, I’ll leave you with this. Gypsy is good, the lesbians are hot, and you will be missing out if you don’t watch it. But when you come to watch the last episode, think more spark than explosion. A spark I hope, that ignites the way for series 2.