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Why Netflix’s Dash & Lily is a Perfect Watch for this Holiday Season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.

This year has been unlike any other in recent memory. The passage of time no longer holds any meaning, but, believe it or not, the holiday season is almost here! If you aren’t really in the holiday mood (which is completely understandable), but you want to be, I have the perfect show for you — Netflix’s Dash & Lily.

Dash & Lily is an eight-episode series that was released on Netflix in November. The show is based on the book Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. It tells the story of two teenagers, Dash (played by Austin Abrams) and Lily (played by Midori Francis), who live in New York City and find themselves alone for the holidays. 

The plot begins when Lily leaves a notebook containing a series of clues and a dare in an independent bookstore. Dash finds this notebook and completes all but one of the tasks – but he doesn’t leave it behind for another player. Instead, he takes the notebook and also leaves a dare for Lily. Through most of the series, Dash and Lily communicate exclusively through the notebook by giving each other dares in exchange for information about their lives. The viewers follow the two as they explore different parts of New York City to complete their dares, getting to know each other in the process. 

One of the best parts of this series is seeing a pre-pandemic New York City. Indeed, the city is almost the third main character of the story as Dash and Lily’s shared love for the world they grew up in is evident in their actions. The show runner, Joe Tracz, was committed to ensuring that the NYC locations visited by the characters were portrayed accurately, and that the show handled the beauty of the city carefully. The series showcases a variety of locations, from an empty Grand Central Station to The Morgan Library & Museum.

What really makes this show amazing, though, is the depth given to the characters. Dash can come off as a bit pretentious, but his sincerity grounds him and allows the viewers to sympathize with him. Lily could have been a one-note, stereotypical “bubbly girl,” but as the show goes on, her love for her family, struggles, kindness, and perseverance endear her to the audience. Dash and Lily also help each other grow throughout the series as Lily learns to embrace and productively deal with her negative emotions, while Dash learns to be more patient and less cynical about the holidays. 

Of course, the show requires some suspension of disbelief – secondary characters just happen to be in the right place at the right time to help Dash and Lily in their respective journeys. However, that’s part of the magic of this show: the characters get a happy ending, and the viewer gets a beautiful, comforting distraction from all the terrible events of this year! In times like these, Dash & Lily is that tiny spark of joy and comfort you need for the holidays. 

Reeti Shah

U Penn '21

Reeti is a senior studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and minoring in Economics. She loves reading (pretty much anything except horror), painting, drawing, looking at pictures of cute animals and learning useless facts. Catch her binge-watching Brooklyn Nine Nine or Parks and Rec when procrastinating.