The show is about these two very different girls, Jules Thomas, a Sorority sister and Ophelia Meyers, a laidback weed dealer, who come together to fight back against men who raped and sexually assaulted other students but got away with it. This is especially relevant in the wake of wide-spread campus rapes and the pitiful sentences of Brock Turner and other idiots like him.
Sweet/Vicious is an amazing mix of laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with serious issues dealt with sensitivity and respect. One of the main characters, Jules, is a rape survivor and so much of the show focuses on her PTSD and her attempts to deal with what happened to her. Part of why she embarks on her journey as a vigilante is because she wants the perpetrators to feel just as scared and helpless as she and the other survivors feel, while also teaching them a lesson.
The show is exceptional because it’s well-written and features the perfect balance between humour and drama. The tone is relatable and never preachy. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson created an amazing mix of characters that were flawed, nuanced and yet still worth rooting for. She, the writers and the directors did a spectacular job dealing with the issues they did without ever resorting to stereotypes, something even the so called ‘serious’ show have trouble doing. The episodes that featured sexual violence of any kind were preceded by a trigger-warning, have you ever come across something like this on any other show? Ever seen a trigger warning before a Game of Thrones episode which deals with sexual violence against women in such a callous and insensitive manner. Even the portrayal of rape was something that we so rarely see. It wasn’t fetishized, the way such scenes often are. The scenes were hard to watch because they felt real. The focus was always on the victim and they never felt gratuitous or exploitative. Special mention for the support group that had men as well as women. That was a small thing and easy to miss but so important because men can be sexually assaulted as well and not many show even acknowledge that.
It is also worth noting just how many nice guys there are in the show. Sure, there are the sex offenders but the show also prominently features genuinely nice guys who respect and support the women they are with either as lovers or as friends. Also, there are so many healthy relationships like the one between Ophelia and Evan, Jules and Tyler, Harris and Fiona. I could write an entire post on the relationships. Who am I kdding, I loved Evan and Tyler, they were adorable.
The show is about girl-power and this is reflected in the crew as well. Of the writers on the show, there are two women (not including Robinson) and of the six directors, three are women. This is commendable. Even the cast is diverse, with POCs who are more than the peripheral characters no one knows or cares about, they are important with their own narrative arcs.
Another thing I loved about the show was its portrayal of women. They did away with so many stereotypes and I was overjoyed to see women standing up for and supporting other women. They genuinely cared about each other and for once there were no women cutting down other women over a guy. Even with characters who seemed a little shallow, the show was quick to point out that there was more to a person than what is obviously visible, case in point Fiona Price. She seemed so shallow and not too bright and most of the other characters wrote her off almost immediately till she had that conversation with Harris and he like the audience is blown away by her.
The cast is also exceptional especially the two main leads, Eliza Bennett and Taylor Deardon. The episodes that focused on what happened to Jules rested on Bennett’s performance and she was brilliant. Her performance was heartbreaking and so compelling. Deardon was equally adept at handling the humourous and the serious scenes. I loved these two so much. The show’s entire premise rested on whether the audience believed the bond between them and they made it easy to do that. Their friendship was one of the highlights of the entire show. Other notable mentions include Brandon Mychal Smith as Harris and Aisha Dee as Kennedy (can I just say that I also loved the friendship between Jules and Kennedy)
I can’t articulate well enough just how amazing this show is. And what is even more amazing that we got it from MTV and not an HBO or Netflix. Credit to MTV for getting behind a show like this. Now, if they could just renew it for another season or three, that would be great.
P.S. – as much as I loved Tyler and Evan, I am sad to say that I’ve set sail on the Juphelia ship and would love nothing more than to see them get together, although, no reason why Tyler and Evan can’t join in the fun. Also, I hope that Kennedy’s in season 2 and doesn’t leave, that would be a bummer.