I watched ‘Baby’ on Netflix with my best friend because we were hopeful, based on the trailer and YouTube edits, that it might have similar vibes to SKAM. Boy were we wrong about what we were going to be watching. I have also not heard really anything about other people watching Baby so I thought I’d write my take on it.
Firstly, for those of you who haven’t seen Baby it is a Netflix original title set it Rome, Italy and therefore original audio is Italian so we watched it with the subtitles. As a show, Baby is relatively similar to ‘Elite’ a different Netflix original show I’ve written about (check it out in my previous posts). Even their uniforms are kind of similar.
Okay, they aren’t exactly the same but they have a similar private school vibe. And like Elite we also have a bit of class drama between the characters who came from the poorer side of town, Damiano who has just moved into money and status and Ludovica who is poor but has been to the school for years and the wealthy rest of the school. Baby follows the lives of several of the students from the Istituto Collodi school but mainly focuses on Ludovica (Ludo) (below left) and Chiara (below right) as they struggle through many high school issues and become escorts working for an escort ‘agency’. Yes, that is the main plot of Baby, they are sugar baby’s and work as escorts. These are under aged girls who we follow going into the escort and paid sex work industry. I checked, you’re a minor until you’re 18 in Italy so that makes them underage. I guess the intention is empowerment for women and their sexuality but they feel too young to me for that to be the message.
“The best thing about having a secret life is you never know what’s in store for you…”— Baby
… and I definitely didn’t when I started watching this. We have some casually aggressive bullying, drug problems, cheating, lying, stealing, destruction or property and much more to get this show going, and that’s only the first episode.
So, I’ll start with a bit of a character recap just for arguments sake.
Chiara: Chiara is the rich girl with family issues who just wants to act out and chooses to become an escort for the fun rather than the money.
Ludovica: Ludovica claims her mother is crazy but seems to me that her mother is just bad with money and is a bad parent, her father isn’t much better refusing to pay her school fees if she didn’t attend his wedding. This all leads Ludovica to agree to working as an escort and push her previous personal boundaries because, it pays better to do more. Ludovica is being brutally bullied at school by seemingly everyone, for getting with a guy? Which so far has seemed quite commonplace at this school but I guess they just hate her cause she isn’t rich or isn’t popular. Ludo seems to me like quite a loose cannon.
We also obviously have to have a few side characters and love interests. Introducing Damiano, Nico, Camilla, Fabio and Brando.
Damiano is ‘from the wrong side of the tracks’ as they say but has recently found out his father is an ambassador so he is suddenly rich but has a lot of daddy issues. He’s also selling drugs because, well, he used to be poor I guess. Although, Damiano does get a lot of attention from the girls of the school particularly Chiara and Camilla. Damiano ends up working for Saverio and Fiore for, I’m really not sure the reason… he wanted to stop dealing drugs so I guess his alternative was…. driving around escorts for a pimp? Then there a bit of rivalry for Damiano’s attention from the besties (that is, Chiara and Camilla) when really, we haven’t seen or spoken to Damiano enough to make up our minds about him but you know its gonna be a problem. He also appears to have a real complex about not letting other people drive him around, on their own mopeds (cause lets not forget this is Italy).
Fiore likes to believe he’s in love with Ludovica, but like, Ludovica is in high school. Feels a bit weird to me that he’s like obsessed with her and gets super jealous of her work considering it was him who brought her to become an escort. He also beats up a teenager – yes he deserved it but still.
Saverio has really very little character traits except he is a pimp and he’s a bit too interested in young girls, but then again so are all his clients.
Fabio is Chiara’s long time friend and befriends Damiano. He is dealing with the struggles of being the principals son and his sexuality although, other than this he is irrelevant.
Camilla is supposedly Chiara’s best friend but I’ve seen no evidence of them actually being best friends, but that’s high school friends I guess. She basically is there to cause tension between Damiano and Chiara and judge Chiara’s every move.
Nico and Brando are just bullies and there is really no substance to either of them except that they’re not good guys. However, Brando is a bit of a stalker too just to add some spice.
Anywho, now you know the players I’ll tell you about the game.
My biggest issue with Baby is, it is incredibly slow. Season 1 has 6 episodes, when I tell you I did not know what this show was about until probably over four episodes in, I mean it. Baby is about, in my opinion, them being escorts but they don’t even become escorts until the end of episode four of season 1. Honestly, nothing really happens in the first 3 episodes to make it take this long. This makes it incredibly difficult to get invested in what is happening.
I truly have to wonder how they released season 1 as an entire season because so little happens in the 6, 40 minute episodes, a story wasn’t told. Season 1 felt entirely like set up, but how can you make a season which is just setting up the rest of your show. Also, the only thing that happens for the final two episodes of the season is they go to a party and there’s a car crash.
Then in season 2 they waste even more time just sitting around trying to decide if they should go back to being escorts. THERE ARE 6 EPISODES!!! How can we still be talking about whether they should do it. AAAAND for the rest of season 2, also almost nothing happens except a video being sent around about Chiara but apparently it still isn’t out that she’s a escort and Ludo getting herself a stalker.
However, all this irrelevant crap happens which wastes so much time out of the 12 episodes. For instance, we have a teacher sleeping with Nico during the show, fine it may happen but why would they promote the idea of this, that is entirely unethical and in Australia anyway is illegal for good reason. Statutory rape. The moral compass of this show is just bizarre.
And honestly, the bullying at this school is outrageous, no one does anything about it.
Then finally, we have a girl pretend to be pregnant to get back with her ex-boyfriend which I don’t see how matters.
Now, I don’t know if this issue only occurs because of translation and culture variation but I honestly feel like none of the characters have an actual personality. Delivering lines and actions don’t equal a personality and it really feels like they are just being given actions (like becoming an escort or dogging your friend) and they are just delivering lines. But even the script (as translated to English) has very little personality in it, the characters don’t have little quirks or moral standpoints or hobbies which is a big part of who a character is and their depth. That is, for me anyway. Also, Chiara and Damiano have no chemistry at all so I don’t see how I am supposed to care about their relationship at all, so I don’t care about it.
The show really seems to idolise or romanticize the life these girls are living. And to be fair, a woman can do whatever she chooses with her body and sexuality however, it is an interesting standpoint for a show directed at teens, about teens to take and shows very little of the negatives or risks they are taking.
My favourite parts about Baby are; Ludovica’s hair cut. This for me is such a boss haircut. Ludo knows who she is and the haircut shows her confidence and power. And secondly, I like to support Netflix making shows in non-english speaking countries, I really do love being able to see a Netflix made Italian show in Australia.
All in all, I would have expected a show about teen escorts to be far more interesting or at the very least entertaining than ‘Baby’ is. The point of the show is that Chiara and Ludo are doing these things and it’s dangerous and what if they get caught but also they like it, so, why does more than half of the runtime have them not being escorts?
The show ends, as far as has been made yet (SPOILER), with Chiara and Ludovica feeling more comfortable and more in control of their work now working directly with Fiore. So, classic happy ending I guess, at least until season 3 which comes out on the 16th of September and I truly can’t believe they were renewed for 3 seasons.
So, if you’ve seen Baby please let me know your thoughts and if you haven’t and choose to check it out also let me know! Don’t forget to check out my socials @simplymythoughts_blog on Instagram and Simply My Thoughts Blog on Facebook. Check back next week for a new blog.