Why Dance Academy is so great…

Netflix, Uncategorized

Dance Academy is an Australian teen drama which first aired in 2010, ran for 3 seasons and one movie which made it into Australian Cinemas. Dance Academy follows the lives of a group of teens attending the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. These kids were primed to join the Australian Ballet Company once they graduated if they were the best few. It is currently on Netflix if you’re interested in checking it out or re-watching! I grew up watching Dance Academy, it made me want to be a dancer or an athlete. However, I think it was a bit late for any of that.

So, here are all the things that I think make Dance Academy so great to this day and make me able to still enjoy it 10 years later.

Despite the actual ‘elite’ talent of the teens and their living away from home, Dance Academy is incredibly realistic to the teen experience. They show young teens making stupid mistakes over and over. It represents the real issues of eating disorders in teens, explores sexuality, cheating, hard work. Kat even has an identity crisis which I think is incredibly relatable to many teens who may discover they aren’t as about sure what they want to do after school than they once were, or realize that they don’t know at all. Kat portrayed this in her move away from dance before she returned realizing her passion and working hard to get where she wanted to be.

Dance Academy also dealt with illness and grief. Ben is a cancer survivor who in the movie has a ‘relapse’ and has to come to terms with his limits. The loss of their friend, Sammy honestly broke me and still hurts me when I watch it.

It talks about familial expectations and how hard they can push one. Working your way through school to support oneself. Sammy has a real struggle with his family throughout the whole show.

It also takes a hard look at how complicated friendships are in teen years and how hard it can be to know who your real friends are.

Body image issues and eating disorders need to be explored more in teen shows because it is such a common problem and Dance Academy did that. They looked at eating disorders and body image in elite athletes.

It also tackles crime with Christian’s past and upbringing in that world and Abigail’s shoplifting. They showed sexual assault as well.

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Another realistic portrayal they presented was athletes and injury, athletes get injured often and keep going through the pain, this is exactly what happens in the show and it also presents how detrimental this can be for athletes.

Additionally, it portrays financial hardship, both Sam and Tara need a scholarship to keep attending because neither Sammy on his own or Tara’s family can afford to send them to the Academy.

Another important aspect for me about Dance Academy is, the actors they chose could genuinely dance. As opposed to other shows like Blue Water High (no shade) where actors are chosen as actors but can’t actually do the exact thing their character does. All of these actors were athletes. There was no need for stunt doubles or cutting scenes to avoid the face of the actor.

I also just feel like there is something so pure about the portrayal of the age group. While they aren’t incredibly young they also aren’t in their late teens which means that there are some cringey embarrassing moments and a lot of personal growth and self discovery. Had they set the ages as older the show would likely have revolved largely around bitchyness and sex but they chose teens who were still largely children. So yes, there is some crime in Dance Academy but I think that is so genuine to the age group, unlike shows like ‘Never Have I Ever’ (check out my thoughts on it here https://simplymythoughts.blog/2020/08/29/never-have-i-ever-been-less-impressed/), the cringe is so normal, its teens acting like teens worried about pimples and if the boy likes them.

Dance Academy showed that with hard work you can reach above and beyond. Tara began her time at the academy as one of the worst trained dancers in her year and became one of the best through hard work and determination. However, it isn’t unrealistic about how having a dream isn’t always enough especially as an athlete.

Keiynan Lonsdale also came from Dance Academy – you may recognize him from The Flash, Love Simon or Work It.

The Movie:

Honestly, the movie really didn’t disappoint me, I feel like I was prepared to be a little disappointed by it because when it came out I was 17 and following up 5 years after the end of Dance Academy, I was worried. But it really didn’t disappoint me, I feel like the movie in a way grew up with the original audience showing them working in the industry and the issues they’re still facing. The only disappointing part for me was how little Christian was in it, but, at least he came back. Almost all of the original cast came back for the reunion movie which I think is great. I also think it was quite exciting to be able to watch the movie on a cinema screen with the Dolby Atmos sound.

So, to sum up, I believe Dance Academy stood the test of time over my youth. I think it was super well done and showcased a lot of issues in a relatable and realistic way. Also, I love dance and any dance movies or tv shows so that was exciting. And we gotta support the Aussie television industry somehow. Don’t forget you can watch Dance Academy on Netflix now!

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Netflix’s ‘Baby’ is super weird…

Uncategorized

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

‘Never Have I Ever’ been less impressed…

Uncategorized

‘Never Have I Ever’ is another one of the Netflix Original new releases and similar to ‘Get Even’ it is based around the lives of a few high school women. Devi is the main character and has experienced a lot of trauma over the past 12 months but decides this year is the year for her and her two friends Fab and Eleanor to become popular. Honestly, for me, this show just wasn’t it. It didn’t get me like a lot of other shows have. It was also super cringey in my opinion. However, I do appreciate the diversity Netflix has shown with NHIE, but honestly it should have come sooner. I also really appreciate them showing cultural and religious aspects for the characters which can educate viewers. So, here’s how I feel about Never Have I Ever. Spoiler disclaimer!

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The beginning is really quite like ‘Awkward’ (on Stan Australia). In Awkward the main character has broken her arm? collarbone? (I couldn’t be bothered to check). She’s required to wear a cast around looking like this. She then attempts to get everyone to forget that she had that and tries to get with the most popular boy in school.

Here, the main girl has been wheelchair bound and returns to school without the wheelchair hoping to reinvent herself and get the guy. As usual, my biggest problem with this show is the main character.

Devi: For me, Devi is quite flawed, which I suppose is meant to be realistic for teens finding their identity and such but she just is not someone who I feel like I can root for when you add up a lot of her actions. For example,

She intends to use a guy figuring out his sexuality for popularity. Devi states she is going to try to date the guy in her class, who she believes to be gay. Because having a boyfriend, even a closeted one, is apparently better than being single? That’s not cool Devi.

She also, really doesn’t like listening to other people’s feelings or seeing their point of view. Case and point, her friends tell her they need to talk to her and she blows them off. She tries to force them to date people because it will make them cool. She doesn’t want to see her cousins point of view on not wanting to have an arranged marriage because she’s jealous of her cousins beauty.

Fun Fact: You can have your own things going on but still care about and respect that your friends do too. Just because you have stuff doesn’t mean you can’t be there for your friends.

She even chooses to be there all day for the guy she likes rather than being there for her best friend who’s mum just left her! I mean come on.

She also tries to change a lot about her friends in the beginning of the show telling them how they should dress and who they should date. This also, doesn’t appear to be optional to her. Devi has just decided they’re going to date these 3 guys she picked out. You can’t control people like that Devi.

Then there’s the whole trying to sleep with the cool guy because he’s cool then basically aiding a rumour going around that they did have sex. Why is that okay Devi? Don’t use people like that especially when you’re his friend.

I’m not going to say that Devi was entirely unlikable, but many of these actions for me really didn’t put me on her side. I recognise I don’t understand what she’s dealing with being a Hindu American or with the loss of her father but her high school quest for popularity and notoriety unsettles me.

I feel like you could even be more sympathetic to Ben because you saw he really had no one around him, was ignored by his family and really just wanted a friend so you could forgive his behaviour early on. Had the show been about him I feel like we would have been shown a better character and better growth.

The show also perpetuates the societal ideal that women should find a man in order to be popular and valued by others. Devi entirely believes that her worth can be equated to the boy she’s dating or who ‘sleeps with her’. Can’t we normalise on TV that it isn’t essential to date in high school and it doesn’t make you a failure or a loser to be living your life on your own. Can’t we slash societies idea that women need to find a man (especially at 16).

Although, Devi isn’t my only issue with the show. I really don’t enjoy the narration over the top of the show, kind of reminds me of the over narration I felt in Jane and Virgin and for me its too much. Narration by a not character also just annoys me, if it is going to be narrated why isn’t it narrated by Devi.

However, there were a few redeemable aspects of the show. For example, Devi does make the first move on the guy she likes which I think was nice to see.

I do also appreciate that Devi is seeing a therapist throughout the show as this should be normalised for teens to ask for help if they need it and seeing someone doesn’t make you weird.

I also did quite like her friends. Both of whom were going through their own things trying to be supportive of Devi and each other, but ultimately were let down by Devi the entire time. But, they both showed personal growth without starting out being really selfish.

I also enjoyed seeing Fab’s coming out in stages to people around her.

Here’s another few things I noticed while watching Never Have I Ever that don’t contribute to how I feel about the show I just found them funny: 

  • Old el paso product placement…
  • Netflix referring to Riverdale – hi Netflix I already have a subscription, that’s how I’m watching, you don’t need to keep advertising yourself.

Netflix has revealed it has been renewed for another season, so I really hope we can see some personal growth for these characters and avoid some of these issues in the next season. All that said, it is nice to see Netflix moving in a move diverse direction slowly but surely and I hope this continues. However, I can’t say I would recommend the show as it is very cringey.

If you’ve seen it let me know your thoughts and if you agree Devi was the worst character. Devi is definitely another character to add to the list of boring, unlikable main characters. If you missed my post on main characters check it out here https://simplymythoughts.blog/2020/08/15/main-character-syndrome/

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget you can subscribe to be emailed when I upload at the bottom of the page or check out my socials @simplymythoughts_blog on Instagram and Simply My Thoughts Blog on Facebook.

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