An ass-hat ex-husband, a boyfriend who is too nice and the perfect child? What could possibly go wrong?
My best friend is always recommending shows to me, over time she has told me to watch shows that I thought I would for sure hate so I’d add them to my maybe list and move on with my life. Those shows, when I eventually got around to them, turned out to be some of my favourites of all time, Girls, Brooklyn 99, Parks and Rec… So now, having learnt my lesson, when she told me how much I would love ‘The Duchess’ I took her word for it and binged it immediately. Once again her recommendation did not disappoint.
‘The Duchess’ is the new vibrant, and darkly witty comedy series created by Katherine Ryan for Netflix. The show may be semi-autobiographical in a lot of ways but the Canadian comedian admitted to Radiotimes that while she and the lead character do have a lot in common, like there name, which Ryan says was never changed out of pure laziness, there are also quite a few differences, for example in real life she did not actually conceive a child with a famous pop star.
The lead character, Katherine Ryan, it appears is not for everyone, with the show receiving some scathing reviews (amongst brilliant ones) about her awful personality. Let’s face it, some of her actions are questionable. Like calling the child who bullies her daughter a ‘Tasteless Little Ditch Pig’ and using nude polaroids of herself to frame that child’s mother for bringing porn onto the school grounds, and yes on a few occasions she neglects to keep her boyfriend up to date with her plans to conceive a child… with a sperm donor… who also happens to be her ex but in her defence, there is no need to defend her because she is a pretty shitty person but it is entertaining as all hell and super refreshing to see a woman on television whose sole purpose isn’t pleasing everyone around her.
Katherine doesn’t fit into the stock-stand female lead in a comedy, the adorkable mum trying her best to strive for work-life balance, making sure everyone likes her, trying to find a way to keep everyone happy, her boss, her kids and her husband all the while making goofy mistakes and trying to find herself… it’s exhausting! Aside from having a baby, all Katherine really cares about is herself, her daughter and her best friend, and that’s totally fine. She is a complex, selfish and flawed character on the hunt for casual sex and in pursuit of a successful career just like many male sitcom leads who are adored for their bad-boy antics. I am pretty sure that Hank from Californication didn’t care what the other Dads at school thought of him and that Charlie from Two And A Half Men didn’t worry about his witty humour offending people.
Despite all of Katherine’s flaws, being a bad mother is not one of them. She is dedicated, protective, and ultra-invested in her daughter, she even puts up with her dropkick ex’s idiocy in order to maintain his relationship with their child. It is a positive depiction of a self-sufficient, independent woman who chooses to be and enjoys being a single mother. Aside from the humour, interesting storyline and adorable connection between Katherine and her daughter Olive, there are plenty of other reasons to binge ‘The Duchess’:
Katherine struts around North London in ensembles that could rival Sex and The City’s, Carrie Bradshaw and Killing Eve’s, Villanelle.
The ‘I’m going to have a baby my way’ look
The ‘Oops I passed my super inappropriate humour onto my daughter’ look
The ‘Oh don’t you wear a two-piece-feathered-ensemble to bed?’ look
The ‘Meet the parents’ look
The ‘Grief’ look
The ‘Oh, I had no idea you were going to be here!’ look
The ‘It’s my daughter’s birthday, I have to see my ex’ look
The Most Memorable Quotes
Katherine calls it as she sees it and laced within her hilarious, whip-smart jokes and insults are important feminist messages and life lessons.
On being a working mum,
‘Hey I can work and have a baby Pierce Morgan’
When being interviewed by a fake feminist who asks her where her daughter is while she is speaking at a body confidence conference, Katherine responds with,
‘You don’t have to constantly ask working mums where their kids are!’
When her life choices are questioned by her nine-year-old daughter,
‘I have choices Olive and I don’t have to keep making bad ones because I made bad ones before’
When her daughter does not want to hold her hand but eventually, reluctantly holds it out to her,
‘Consent is not the same as enthusiasm remember that’
And when her daughter asks is she is upset that she now has a step mum,
‘I didn’t have you so you’d belong to me forever I had you hoping you’d grow to be your own person and you’d love lots of people and they would love you’
The Not So Typical Aussie Love Interest
Creator Katherine Ryan has said in interviews that she wanted to reverse the gender-stereotyped narrative of the woman being the hopeless romantic by having that part portrayed by the male love interest and that male love interest is played by Australian comedian Steen Raskopoulos. Raskopoulos plays Evan, a Dentist who is a sucker for Katherine, even after she breaks his heart numerous times. Evan dreams of a life with Katherine, one with marriage, a house and babies and goes to great lengths to prove his dedication to her.
The soundtrack to Kathryn’s life is as badass as she is and features some female veterans of the music industry like Janelle Monet and Robyn, as well as a heap of exciting new talent.