Harry & Meghan (2022) - Netflix
A personally curated, finely and carefully delivered exercise of spin. As Markle says - "If you want our story, then shouldn't you come to us for it?" Netflix felt the same, it seems, or at least, paid the most money for what this globally famous couple had to say. Would the same couple have made this series of allegedly candid stories for nothing. If there wasn't a big, fat cheque in it?
Fair point, but the claim that this is 'their story' really suggests there is more than one and then it comes down to who you believe. 'From the horses mouth' does not mean it can't be an exaggeration or even, humanity forbidding, a bare-faced lie. They are here again, despite allegedly hating the intrusiveness of the media, popping their head above the parapet once more, to be judged, whilst claiming they hate the thing that gives them life, even as they dance for them enthusiastically goofing and opening up their personal stories, equal parts woe and joy, as long as the gold continues to flow in their direction. Frankly, it took me about three minutes to realise I wasn't buying it.
"It felt right, it felt so normal." - Harry on his first week with Meghan in Botswana.
This seems like a throwaway line of filler, but it says much more about the whole relationship than anything else that this documentary series could offer and is the entire crux of the argument against not only the existence of the Netflix show, but the attitude of the man himself, who, doubtless with the encouragement of his wife, is the backbone of this production at which they had, at the very least, 'final say' written into it. We should be grateful that the man found his true love in time. Would Harry have, even in his wildest imaginings, have agreed to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, if not for the influence of his wife, already a celebrity living in a world where your entire being benefits from being drawn to the spotlight like a moth. Harry fell into a world that enveloped him in a confusing darkness given his upbringing, and like a moth in darkness, both he and love are as good as blind.
The first three episodes are relatively shock and revelation free (Harry keeping that for the upcoming book, perhaps?), with both of them individually and less often, together, espousing their dreams of privilege, being in a position where they can potentially make a difference to a world less fortunate and photogenic than they are. Less is made of their opportunities, than their sweetly gushing love for one another, which if anything historically seems the least ironic and most believable of what they're here to sell us. New love is always wonderful, otherwise nobody would do it. Doesn't mean it is happily ever after, of course, no matter how many pictures they take of their unconfined joy at two becoming one. Who did take all of those photos of them blissfully beaming, whilst still meeting in secret, by the way? I can see the odd selfie, but the rest? Did they ask a passing elephant? Again, the picture they are painting is their picture. Let's not overlook that, at least.
So overall, a relatively overhyped marketing campaign that lacks the punch that I suspect may be coming still. We're only halfway through, so to pass comment at this point would seem to be a little naïve, if we're planning on deciding whether they're guilty or innocent (or should that really be 'whinging privileged millionaires' or 'innocent victims of thinly veiled racism and enthusiastic press intrusion'), perhaps it might be politic to get the whole story, even if it is only theirs. So far, so blindingly obvious. Half of this severely put upon couple didn't get to choose their family, but half of them did and the potential consequences for both of them were glaringly obvious to see even before they decided to become public, but they did it anyway.
I've not seen anything that has changed my initial total ambivalence, but when pressed if I would wear a mask and hat every time I left the house but in return would have tens of millions of dollars, I think I know which side of the fence that I, and most others I know, would fall. I do this for you gentle reader, but please, the sooner this pantomime is over, the better for everyone. Some people just don't know how lucky they are. Just so you know, you are allowed to dislike them if you find them vacuous, insufferable and insipid. They can't make you love them and be on their team, no matter how much they might try. And by crikey, how they do try.