A Review of Hulu's Shrill

   Hulu's latest original series, Shrill, stars Saturday Night Live actor Aidy Bryant as Annie, a young journalist living in Portland who begins to free herself and find her voice as an unapologetic woman. 

Image Courtesy of: Wired

   Aidy Bryant is really good as Annie. Her performance is strong, but understated. She's completely down-to-earth and relatable. Annie is a character that feels as if you don't see yourself reflected in her, then you see someone you know reflected in her. Annie is ridiculed and walked over in the first half of the pilot episode because of her weight. She acts polite to a trainer who tells her there's a skinny person inside of her dying to get out and then smiles as people tell her she's like Rosie O'Donnell. She's sleeping with a clueless man who really doesn't deserve the sex she's giving him. Her father has cancer and her mother is passively aggressively nitpicking Annie due to the stress of the situation.

    When Annie finds out she is pregnant and decides to have an abortion, that's when things to begin to change. The rest of the episodes involve Annie getting her first article published, sleeping with her best friend's brother, attending a pool party based around body confidence, and coming to the realization the guilt and shame she's felt her whole life has been due to the 'mind prison' inside her very own head. 

   Body positivity is all around us at the moment. From Dove’s Self-Love Project to Target using models with prosthetic limbs and NOW’s Love Your Body campaign, women are in society are being told to proudly display themselves and know their body is theirs and theirs alone. I totally support the movement and I really love how Shrill does too. The six episodes are refreshing to watch because it showed the real struggles a woman has in loving herself and becoming confident. Yes, someone telling a fat woman she's beautiful is truth being said, but that doesn't take away the years of awkwardness she's felt whenever she tries on clothes or has sex. Shrill shows how sometimes it feels like for every step forward, you are forced to take two steps back. Annie gets her article published and her joy is overwhelming, but her mother still comments on her diet and her boss is still a d*ck to her. 

 

   I talked about the show with my friend, who admitted she didn't get past the pilot episode. When I asked why, she responded the tone of the show reminded her too much of HBO's Girls. And I realized she was right, in a way. There are many comparisons that can be drawn about Annie Easton and Hannah Horvath. Both are millennial women, plus-size, only children, writers/journalists who strive to be taken seriously in their careers, are sleeping with men who really are not on their level, and rely heavily on their best friends/roommates to get through the day. The difference between Shrill and Girls is that I already know I won't end up hating Annie like I did with Hannah. Lena Dunham and HBO tried to show how Hannah (and women in general) are not perfect beings, but in doing so they made a character too wrapped up in herself to make anyone see beyond that. Shrill's Annie is a genuinely good person, who makes good and bad choices, but you forgive her for the bad because you've made similar ones! 

   Hulu has already announced it's renewed Shrill for a second season. It premieres in 2020 and here's to hoping we see more of the good things from season one next year!