That little voice is still missing

Published September 17, 2020

When the first episodes of Ted Lasso were released on Apple TV+, I tweeted this: “Genuinely hoping for Apple TV+ to deliver a stinker at some point and I thought Ted Lasso would be it. But my word, those first three episodes made me laugh and cry. Gorgeous.”

I have a lot, A LOT, more to say about Ted Lasso but I’m waiting for the series to end before I formulate some thoughts. However, in the meantime, I have managed to find a show on Apple TV+ that I haven’t liked! At last! Now I can sleep.

Of course not everything they do is perfect, and even more obviously I haven’t watched everything available on the streaming service. But the strike rate up until now has been blowing my mind a little bit. Until I watched Little Voice.

Little Voice - busking scene

The weird thing about it is that all the elements should add up to a good show, one that I would enjoy:

  • It’s about music
  • It’s about a woman finding herself, her voice
  • It’s beautifully shot in New York
  • There are some really great people in it

However, the sum of all those parts didn’t add up to me. Firstly, the main character of Bess King was, truly, awful. Stubborn and grumpy, she would shout at people and be instantly forgiven, she seemed to expect the world to fall over at her voice, when even she was only just finding her confidence. She was mean to her friends and her family and I’m sure I only heard her apologise once. I couldn’t feel enough personality coming out of the performance, either, although Brittany O’Grady, who plays her, clearly has an incredible voice.

Little Voice - family scene

The surrounding characters were much more interesting and better played - the brother, the best friend, even the dad. Sure, there were some stereotypes there but it also felt like we were dipping toes into areas that aren’t always explored. Sadly, we didn’t get much time to do that because Bess and her dramatic journey back to the stage had to come first. The pacing of it was a bit weird as it felt like a lot was happening but also nothing was happening, although I liked that this wasn’t an overnight success story. Bess still has a lot of hard work ahead of her.

The music was okay, but it was hard to hear it coming as authentic from Bess because it was so painfully Sara Bareilles’ work. It’s always fun to see inside a music studio, and to enjoy the graft that follows creativity around. I liked seeing where the flashes of inspiration would hit Bess and the scene in the final episode where she keeps the room entertained despite a lack of electricity was good.

I don’t know what it was about this show that didn’t work for me, but I watched the whole thing and am somehow happy I did but also have no desire to watch anything to do with it ever again. That’s okay though, it’ll just give me time to watch each Ted Lasso episode three times.

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