R29 Binge Club: Gypsy Episode 1-2 Recaps

Television has the great benefit of being able to defy genre. This means it can support shows like Gyspy, a mind-bending exploration of intimacy, boundaries, and the boxes we fight to escape. It’s not a thriller, nor is it romance. It’s psychologically traumatizing, but it’s not a horror series. It’s just good TV.

The show, which stars Naomi Watts at the titular gypsy, follows Jeanie, a therapist in New York City who has unorthodox practices. In practice, actually, she’s pretty kosher. She asks the right questions. She has the calming voice of your average therapist. Outside the office, she’s more off-kilter. She’s desperate to emerge from the confines of suburban life, as are the other leading players in her life. Her daughter, Dolly, is grappling with gender dysphoria, and her husband is straining under the weight of an enormous workload and an all-too-sexy personal assistant.

Looking for a way out, Jeanie inserts herself in the lives of her patients. Who says therapists are detached third parties, clean in their objectivity? Jeanie is a fucking subject in the narratives of her patients. She’s getting drinks with ex-girlfriends and enjoying blowouts with the cursed daughters of her most viperlike visitors.

Led by Sam Taylor-Johnson, the director of 50 Shades of Grey, Gypsy is an exploration of the nomadic mind: the places one wanders when the socially constructed boundaries disappear.

Episode 1: The Lying Begins

It’s no accident that the first place Jeanie (Naomi Watts) wanders into in the first episode is called the Rabbit Hole. And, coincidentally, the coffee shop is located in the basement of a New York City brownstone. She literally goes down a rabbit hole. Anything goes in the coffee shop, where Jeanie gives the name “Diane” for the order, and seems particularly fascinated with a British barista (Sophie Cookson). It’s the start of Jeanie’s rebellion, her first foray into the civil war that is her identity crisis. While she’s there, a phone call arrives: Mom. She ignores it, another tiny piece of the rebellion.

Boundaries are the theme of the show, and the premiere wastes no time punching that button. First, when Jeanie is in the throes of a session with Sam Duffy, she writes down the word “boundaries.” Then, she circles it. Sam is a forlorn dumpee blessed with a couples tattoo. He claims that his ex, Sidney, forced him to get the tattoo, which, sure.

Jeanie has three notable patients — at least, three patients worth watching. There’s Allison, who’s addicted to pills, the aforementioned lovelorn Sam Duffy, and Claire, who is effectively stalking her own daughter. The camera is very interested in these patients, i.e. they give their monologues almost directly to us, the viewer. It starts to feel like they’re constructing one large narrative — one that Jeanie is soon to adopt.

The second time Jeanie drops by the Rabbit Hole, she’s a little more off-the-rails: She orders a glass of Chardonnay in place of her Americano. All the while, she’s this close to devouring Sidney the barista. (However, I’ve always found that coffee shops are teeming with a sort of accidental sexual tension, so perhaps Jeanie’s eye-fuckery is just in accordance with her surroundings.) This time, she and Sidney get into it: Jeanie says she’s a writer (a lie) and Sid hands her whiskey instead of Chardonnay. (“It’s better,” she reassure Jeanie.) Our British barista/bartender moonlights as a punk rocker, and invites Diane to her show later that evening.

Emerging from the Rabbit Hole, Jeanie lands back in reality, which is her daughter’s karate demonstration. Dolly is a) adorable, and b) confused as to why she can’t just hang out with boys. Dolly’s nascent gender dysphoria runs parallel to her mother’s own identity crisis. While Jeanie is busy trying on “Diane” and these various identities, her daughter is frustrated by the fact that she wants to kiss other girls (and that she wants to be a boy, which is very telling).

In bed with her husband Michael (Billy Crudup), Jeanie reminisces about the old days — when she was bonkers, it seems. Michael is not interested in old Jeanie (“It was a rollercoaster!”), which certainly doesn’t bode well for Jeanie’s future as a stable human being.

Case in point: The dinner at the Fadelsons! Jeanie doesn’t want to go. Then, when she’s there, she’s drunk. She asks for whiskey instead of wine — her second time doing that this episode — and proceeds to get plastered, all because she’s done with housewife life. The Fadelsons are your traditional “soccer mom” characters. They’re judgey, they eat crudités, and they wear beige cashmere shawls.

It’s all to escape, of course, to Sidney’s punk rock show. (If the show were looking for another metaphor, they might call Sidney’s band ‘The Mad Hatters.’) She’s supposedly headed to a house party at Larin’s house, but she’s not, because she’s Jeanie, and she’s on the prowl. Why? Dunno. We’ll find out.

At the show, a semi-drunk Jeanie pretends to be Diane, the reporter, who writes. Here are all her lies.

1) She writes about “people.”

2) She tried marriage; it didn’t work out.

3) She has a niece named Dolly, no kids.

There’s some light — sorry, heavy — flirting happening in the first episode. It’s like Jeanie is presenting a version of Sidney for Sidney. She’s wearing Sid’s perfume, and selling the same “tortured artist” image of this punk rocker/barista in fishnets. Sid reveals that her father is in prison in a touching-but-too-self-aware tale. The slinky twentysomething is getting touchy just when Jeanie needs to leave.

From there, all the normal interactions feel a lot less stable. When Jeanie speaks to Claire regarding her daughter, Rebecca, we’re aware that our protagonist has her ears open for something… else.

Sure enough, Jeanie heads to get a blowout after the appointment — right next to Rebecca, the daughter in question. It’s like Jeanie’s become an investigative reporter.

Then, Michael cancels their upcoming vacation. And Jeanie speaks with Sam Duffy, who drops this bomb: Sidney’s dad isn’t in prison — he’s dead. Or is he?

SIDNEY, WHY ARE YOU ALSO LYING?

WHY IS EVERYONE LYING ON THIS SHOW?!

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 2: This Pop-Up Thing In Bushwick

The second episode begins with what sounds like Jeanie writing a Match.com profile for Diane while she’s brushing her teeth. This show treats everyday situations as if they are horror. I keep thinking someone is going to die while Jeanie brushes her teeth just because the music is doing that CSI dun-dun-dun-dun that indicates a killer is near.

That being said, not a ton happens. Jeanie brushes her teeth. She puts out cat food. Then she heads to the grocery store, where she runs into fellow mom Holly. Dolly’s got a party coming up, and Jeanie has mom duties!!

Pushing up against these duties is Sidney, who is in Jeanie’s phone as “S.” She’s texted Jeanie something along the lines of “haven’t stopped thinking about you” and our protagonist keeps looking at the text longingly.

Sidney sounds more and more like a manipulative crazy person. Sam Duffy (Sidney’s lovelorn ex) says that he saw Sidney the other day. (“It was nice,” he says, looking like a lost puppy.) The real kicker here is that Sidney told Sam about “some woman” she met. (That’s Jeanie. Sidney’s talking about Jeanie.)

In most respects, Jeanie is a great mom and wife. She sets up play dates with Dolly, she whips up weeknight beef bourguignon, and she’s got stellar mom fashion. (Think flowy Eileen Fisher-type clothing but with a bit more structure.) In other respects, she’s completely bonkers. She downs whiskey before sending Sidney a text that reads “It sounds like you have many admirers. You should be careful.”

This show is very suggestively sexy — there’s no outright come hither-ing, but when we see Sidney cloaked in red light and we see Jeanie lying on her bed, hands between her legs. We get it: Jeanie’s masturbating to Sidney.

Meanwhile, Michael’s late at the office. Gee, I wonder where this is going?

A mention of a “borderline” patient named Melissa made me perk my ears up. Supposedly, Melissa’s in the hospital and making accusations against Jeanie, who used to be her therapist.

There are times when I think Sidney is the work of an elderly male writer, someone who thinks that “a pop-up thing in Bushwick in an old lumber factory” is the thing that hot alternative girls in fishnets do.

There are a lot of drugs in this show – metaphors for them, anyway. Jean can’t quit Sidney, Allison the drug-addicted patient can’t quit her drug-addicted boyfriend, Claire can’t quit her daughter Rebecca, and Michael can’t quit his sexy assistant. Oh, and Allison actually can’t quit drugs. (In one of the more poignant moments in this episode, Jean comforts a very high Allison in her office.)

Jean, of course, goes to the Bushwick “pop-up thing,” where a bouncer gives her the once-over — this woman does not belong in Bushwick. (She wears too much Eileen Fisher!)

There, Sidney tells Jean/Diane that she “shouldn’t believe everything she hears,” which, okay. That feels like a sign from the show itself, telling us not to believe everything that happens onscreen. (Or anything that the characters say.)

The night ends when Dolly FaceTimes her mother. Remember: Diane, Jeanie’s alter ego, doesn’t have a daughter. Sidney and Jeanie are this close to a DFMO when Dolly rings, and it all goes downhill. Jeanie heads home, where she sips whiskey with Michael.

“To the love of my life,” she says during a toast to the night. Okay, sure.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

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Cole Sprouse Found A Clip Of KJ Apa Acting With Ed Sheeran & It's The Ultimate #TBT

The latest surprise cameo to come up from the annals of YouTube doesn’t just involve today’s best and brightest as up-and-coming stars (we see you, Dove Cameron and Justin Prentice), it has a dash of Ed Sheeran, too. Thanks to Cole Sprouse, a video of Ed Sheeran acting opposite of Riverdale ‘s KJ Apa has surfaced and fans are being shook on two fronts.

While the world knows Sheeran for his heartfelt tunes, with his Game of Thrones cameo coming up and this new clip, it’s clear that the multitalented troubadour has more than just a passing interest in acting, too.

Teen Vogue reports that in what appears to be an amazing take on the #tbt, Sprouse unearthed a clip from Shortland Stree t, a New Zealand soap opera that featured the Archie to his Jughead, Apa. The clip features his co-star and a babyfaced Sheeran, who managed to make an appearance on the show, if only for one episode in 2014.

According to Teen Vogue, “KJ played a character named Kane who appears to be fairly similar to Archie in that he’s an aspiring musician who has an affair with a teacher, is part of a murder scandal, and also plays sports.”

So not much has changed in that department. And while the music on Riverdale is pretty sweet, the show hasn’t managed to nab a bonafide chart-topper just yet. Plus, Apa has his natural hair color, not his flame-red Archie hair, so viewers may not recognize the star at all.

As for Sheeran, he played himself on Shortland Street, so it probably wasn’t much of a stretch for him. Like a sort of musical muse, he appears out of nowhere to inspire Apa’s character and then disappears just as quickly. All in all, he was onscreen for about 20 seconds.

Sprouse uploaded the short clip to his Instagram story, but thanks to intrepid Riverdale fans hungry for any and all things Apa-related, the YouTube clip has found new life and racking up a flood of new views. Check it out, below.

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A Heartbreaking Study Finds Opioid Addiction Rates Are Continuing To Climb

A devastating new study finds that the opioid epidemic in the United States is continuing to grow. Despite the number of people receiving opioid addiction diagnoses, CNN reports that many aren’t getting the treatment they need.

Blue Cross Blue Shield gathered data on members from 2010 to 2016 and found that those “with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493%.” However, the analysis also found that the number of people seeking professional help to treat their addictions only rose by 65% over the same time period.

To put that into perspective, a 2016 Surgeon General’s Report indicated that only one in 10 people with a drug addiction receives the treatment they need, with 40% of people not seeking treatment at all, according to CNN.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) found that in 2015, 20.5 million Americans had a substance abuse disorder, and approximately 10% of those people were addicted to either pain relievers or heroin.

Through Blue Cross Blue Shield’s study, researchers also learned the longer someone was instructed to use a pain-relieving prescription like oxycodon, the more likely they were to develop an opioid use disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being on such a drug for just eight days could be enough to influence someone to use the drug again down the road.

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Women, the study found, were more likely to abuse prescription pain relievers than men, with the CDC finding that overdose deaths for women increased to over 400%. The rate for men has increased, too, by 265%.

There’s no denying that opioid addiction in the U.S. is an issue. ASAM reported that in 2015 alone, over 33,000 Americans overdosed on either pain pills or heroin.

Though Trump signed an executive order in March establishing the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, medical experts who attended the commission’s first meeting are scared that his proposed cuts to Medicaid will essentially obliterate any hope the nation has in reigning in opioid-related deaths, according to PBS.

“Medicaid is the largest national payer for addiction and mental health treatment,” Dr. Joe Parks, the medical director for the National Council for Behavioral Health, said during the meeting. “Since the majority of increased opiate deaths and suicide occur in young and middle-aged adults, which is the [Medicaid] expansion population, the Medicaid expansions must be maintained and completed.”

It’s not just doctors who are worried, either. Public figures like former Vice President Joe Biden have tweeted out their concerns.

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With addiction rates rising at such drastic rates, we cannot afford to strip coverage from the people who need it most.

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Emilia Clarke's Sexism Comments Totally Miss The Mark

It’s no secret that sexism is a major workplace problem, and show business is no exception. We applaud women in Hollywood who use their platform to speak out about the wage gap and other issues faced by females in the industry. But Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke made a jaw-dropping and totally inappropriate comparison when she equated sexism to racism.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Clarke started out by making some very valid points about what it’s like to be a woman in Hollywood. She correctly pointed out that women often have fewer lines than their male co-stars, and their work hours are longer due to all the time spent in hair and makeup.

Then she veered way off course with this comment: “I feel so naive for saying it, but it’s like dealing with racism,” Clarke told Rolling Stone. “You’re aware of it, and you’re aware of it, but one day, you go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s everywhere!’ Like you suddenly wake up to it and you go, ‘Wait a fucking second, are you . . . are you treating me different because I’ve got a pair of tits? Is that actually happening?’ It took me a really long time to see that I do get treated differently. But I look around, and that’s my daily life.”

First of all, as a white woman, it’s not Clarke’s place to compare any of her experiences to racism. Regardless of how much time she may have spent educating herself about the issue, no one can understand the experience of racism unless they’re actually a person of color.

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Furthermore, her comments imply that sexism and racism are one and the same when, in reality, each issue presents its own unique set of challenges. Both prejudices need to be discussed, but lumping them together isn’t the correct way to have a conversation about either issue.

And perhaps most importantly, Clarke failed to discuss the importance of intersectional feminism. Sexism affects women of color and white women differently, and that’s exactly why intersectional feminism is crucial. For example, the wage gap is far worse for black and Latinx women than it is for white women.

Just like men have no place mansplaining sexism to women, white women don’t have the right to compare our struggles to those faced by people of color. And when any woman uses her platform to promote feminist causes, she’d be wise to remember that if it’s not intersectional, it’s not feminism at all.

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London Pride's Seriously Ill-Advised Poster Campaign Generates Controversy

London’s Pride Festival is in full swing, and it’ll culminate with the Pride Parade on July 8. Over a week before the event, controversy has erupted for a disheartening reason, and it provides an important reminder that allies need to check their privilege.

Organizers invited people to submit “messages of love for Pride” that would be turned into artwork for the parade. This seemed like a great idea…until the posters were revealed and turned out to be a bit homophobic themselves.

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Even as a joke, using “gay” as an insult is unacceptable and posters like this only serve to normalize this type of rhetoric.

Other controversial posters read: “My gay friends make me more attractive by association” and “Befriend a gay person and win a prize — friendship.”

People are understandably outraged at the implication that gay friends are trendy fashion accessories and their existence helps straight people appear “more attractive.”

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Furthermore, a whole lot of these posters focus on straight people and not the community that Pride is meant to honor.

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After a social media backlash, four images from the campaign have been removed. Pride in London, the organizers of the event, have apologized for the ill-advised poster campaign.

“It is clear we misjudged the content of some of the messages in this poster series, undermining the individuality, importance, and dignity of the LGBT+ community,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “This was never our intention, and we are genuinely sorry to have played any part in something that appears to devalue our own community, and have removed these… images from our campaign.”

Although we’re glad to see that Pride in London has taken the criticism seriously, these posters serve as a depressing reminder of how much progress still needs to be made in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

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