Dark, Funny, Frightening, Netflix’s Baby Reindeer Will Tear You Apart

Avatar photo Anthony Pizzuto1 month agon/a8 min

First and foremost, there are going to be some spoilers ahead so read at your own caution.

Another Friday night of unwinding after the inbox is closed and the kids are fed and tucked in for the evening my wife and I decided to chip away at our queues when we were greeted by a “Recently Added” flag on this intriguing cover art for a show called “Baby Reindeer”. For us, when we clicked through, we weren’t indulged by a trailer, no we were given a 30-second clip of Donny Dunn (Richard Gadd) talking to a Martha (Jessica Gunning) who appeared to be in an eerie dissociative fugue state giving hollow and vacant responses to Gadd’s questions.

As a fan of Stephen King’s Misery (the book, play, and movie) I immediately fell in love with this tiny clip and knew we were going to be in for a treat.

And oh what a treat we had.

There are few shows that I’ll actually invest the time to binge-watch, however, this roller coaster of a series kept me so on the edge of my seat that we had to plow through (well, I plowed through, my wife doesn’t have the entertainment fortitude that I can get sometimes).

Adapted from Gadd’s one-man-show, the Scottish writer and comedian shares the semi-true story of being harassed and stalked for several years as he was starting out on his career which in all honesty I had no idea this was based on a true story until well after watching the show, which just adds to the darkness and depth that you see on screen.

I’m not familiar with Gadd’s work, but he brings a clever and thoughtful version of himself to life that you fall in love with, feel sorry for, and then hate for a period of time due to his own self-sabotaging. I may even have cursed at my television when he made a very impractical decision later on in the series. That’s how invested you get into his character.

And then… my conscience and heart were torn because at the same time I was cheering Gadd on (or cursing him), I found that I was spending a huge amount of empathy on Gunning’s character, Martha. The toxic, sociopathic stalker with a criminal past. At times you find her frightening, at times you find her heartbreaking.

But, I’m jumping ahead of myself.

The show in a nutshell is:

Donny Dunn (Gadd) is a struggling comedian/bartender who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a seemingly innocent and kind woman by the name of Martha (Gunning) enters his bar and asks for a Diet Coke. When Dunn asks for payment, Martha shares she has no money. Dunn’s kindness of offering her a drink on the house pushes the first domino that takes down the entire lot.

From there the two characters build a casual, yet strange relationship when Dunn (egged on by his coworkers) makes a lewd comment to Martha which she misinterprets as an open invite to take their casual, workplace friendship to a much more intimate level.

And that’s when things get scary.

Through the course of the show though, we’re not only taken on the journey of the “present day” frightening adventures of Dunn and Martha, but we also take a step back into the past to see why Dunn is so self-sabotaging to begin with as he faces a period of his life where he is sexually abused by a mentor, and how that changed the course of his life and career.

Overall, this show is dark, frightening, raw, and in some instances, very funny. To me it’s honest, it’s a reflection of how the awful things that may have happened in the past are always going to be with us and can really affect the way we operate in the world going forward. It’s about facing our past, it’s about accepting who we are and being honest with ourselves.

If that all doesn’t convince you to watch this masterpiece, check out the trailer below:

All episodes of Baby Reindeer are currently streaming on Netflix. I highly recommend you check it out if you want something deep, scary, and funny.

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