After watching the trailer for this new show, helmed by acclaimed Italian director Luca Guadagnino, I couldn’t help but get Euphoria and My Brilliant Friend vibes all mashed together. Considering I have reviewed and adored both of those programs, I knew I couldn’t pass this one up. So far after watching only one episode, I’m definitely intrigued to see more and still reeling from one scene. Let’s dive in and discuss!
Fraser, portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer (above), is definitely a fish out of water. Maybe it’s just that he’s a New Yorker uprooted to Italy. But I get the sense, that even in New York, he was still the odd duck out. Zodiac and fashion are clearly big interests for him. Does he like to use the zodiac to be snide to people or does he actually believe it? I do appreciate his affinity for Augusten Burroughs though. He’s making his way around the base seeing what’s what and makes his way into the high school. His dance across the basketball court while the guys were playing was humorous and seems fitting to his personality. He spots a lovely girl speaking in class and snaps a pic. Awkward, but after creepily following the group of friends, one of them notices and eventually invites him along. Maybe new friends?
“Is that what you feel? You feel lost?”
Among the group of students is the general’s daughter, Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) whom we know is an Aries based on her mother’s comment after picking up Fraser and his mother from the airport. Yay, Ram Fam! She’s the lovely girl Fraser snapped the picture of in class. But it’s another girl Britney (Francesca Scorsese) who drags him along with the group, cementing him as her new boy toy apparently. She even makes him strut his stuff. Okay, really? You tell him you’re gonna get him in with your friends because “Without friends, you’re nothing” but then you treat him like that? Way to make a new kid feel welcome. No wonder he wanders away from you all to get into his own shit around Italy. And boy, does he. It is weird that I get a secret plot vibe? Comments about explosives, uniforms, tick-tock Doomsday clock? Drunk, dehydrated, and bleeding, he calls mom #2 Maggie (Alice Braga) for help and you can sense right away he has very different relationships with his mothers.
The new commander of the base, or mom #1 Sarah (Chloe Sevigny, HBO’s Big Love), is now in charge and dealing with some tension over the passing of command. As the former leader pointed out the crime stats are high, he wished her luck. Only three rapes; only three reported rapes. It’s one of the most underreported crimes so I’m sure it happened more than that on base. But it’s Caitlin’s father Richard (Kid Cudi) who seems bristly especially about this new command. Are we potentially going to see some issues between the parents as the kids become closer? Perhaps, he’s feeling salty about being passed over? As Caitlin and Fraser’s relationship evolves, I’m guessing there will be more tension and ill regard towards the new commander and her very different family.
“So what should I call you?”
Two scenes stood out in particular in this episode. After mom #2 comes to rescue Fraser, we learn more about the family. The marriage seems strained, though they have no problem taking baths together and taking clothes off in front of their son. What are other people’s thoughts on this? Weird that the moms were nude with Fraser able to see them or is there something to normalizing bodies and sexuality in what they’re doing? Personally, when the kids are younger I have fewer issues but it still made me uncomfortable. I’m not sure I’d want to be nude around a teenage son. But I don’t have a son, let alone a teenage one so I have no clue. But what left me reeling was after Fraser confronts Sarah about bringing him to Italy. He’s not happy to be there, and that’s fair. Sounds like he’s been dragged around with the military life a little bit and that’s pretty common. But when she refuses to slice his meat thin, he slaps her. And I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt Sarah should respond. Except maybe, “What the f*ck? That’s not okay.” But in that instance, as a parent, what do you do?
Another important scene is when Fraser sees Caitlin leaving her house, dressed differently. Caitlin’s mom is yelling at her not to wear her father’s clothes. He follows her and eventually she sees him. And here’s where Fraser, though kind of a hot mess, in my opinion, proves himself a compassionate person. He asks no other questions except what should he call her. No disrespect or teasing. Just the acknowledgment that whomever she wants to be is who he will treat her as. And don’t people deserve more of that?
I really can’t wait to keep on with this show. The director himself stated, “It’s part of the human nature to be whoever you want to be” and I’m looking forward to seeing these characters exploring this idea. I enjoy the very Americanized feeling of a military base smack in Italy. Americans have a way of creating little Americas when they live elsewhere and being able to leave the base and see a whole new world is exciting. What can several American teens get up to unsupervised in Italy? Not sure, but I’m tuning in to find out!
Writer. Reader. Hogwarts alum. Nap enthusiast. Coffee expert. Holder of tea parties. Nerdfighter. Browncoat. Whovian. Cumber cookie. Alliteration addict. Wit factory. Can often be seen making meandering journeys through her mind in search of something profound. If cranky, approach quietly and offer either caffeine or chocolate.