TV Binge Report: Hindsight

I realized pretty quickly that part of the reason I fell so hard for Hindsight when I started watching it is because tonally, it’s one of the closest things on TV to the show I want to write someday. It’s campy, fun, full of 90s references, full of heart, and has a time travel twist. What more could I ask for?

giphyHindsight, a VH1 dramedy that recently finished airing its first season, follows Becca (Laura Ramsey), who begins the pilot as a 40-something New Yorker preparing for her second wedding to a longtime family friend. She’s experiencing some doubts about the choices she’s made in her life and misses her best friend, Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), whom she had a mysterious falling out with about 10 years earlier. After a bizarre elevator ride, Becca is shocked when she wakes up the next morning 20 years earlier, in 1995, on the morning of her first wedding. She now has a second chance to make different choices and try to figure out which guy she’s meant to be with, escape her demeaning assistant job, and, most importantly, mend her friendship with Lolly, which is not yet broken in this new timeline.

Because the show takes place in 1995, the music is excellent and there are so many nostalgic references (Lolly actually works at a video rental store) and fun jokes (such as when Becca accidentally spoils Monica and Chandler winding up together on Friends). The show has a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Becca refuses to ride an elevator after the incident in the pilot, afraid she will time travel again, a phobia which leads to some amusing moments. The bar where the main characters hang out all the time is called The Anchor, a fun nod to the fact that it’s one of the few things that’s the same in both timelines.

giphyThe show definitely has its fair share of love triangles, but one of the things I love most about it is that the core relationship is the friendship between Becca and Lolly. Lolly is every bit the Rayanne to Becca’s Angela, a popular dynamic in TV friendships because it works. The two complement each other, and the show intentionally doesn’t reveal what caused their massive falling out until nearly the end of the season. I do have to say, and this is a minor spoiler, that I was somewhat disappointed when their much built-up fight was over a man. I expected a little more from a show that I generally found to be very feminist, but I was still so invested in their friendship that I felt a strong sense of dread as they hurtled towards the (perhaps) inevitable.

Hindsight suffers a bit from awful main character syndrome, or the phenomenon where basically every other character on the show is more likable than Becca (see: Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black). While I never really stopped rooting for her, Becca is incredibly wishy washy, which is infuriating at times. She also involves herself in other people’s business way too much because she thinks she knows what’s best for everyone. I understand how someone would feel that way if they had 20 years of future knowledge on everybody else, but making mistakes is important to anyone’s personal growth and she needs to learn to let her friends and family make them sometimes without meddling. But at the end of the day, would any of us do much better in Becca’s situation?

giphyWhat surprised me the most about this show was the surprisingly existential questions it made me ask myself. Being human, I have definitely thought about what I would do differently if I had the chance to go back. I find it hard to believe that anyone hasn’t. Hindsight never goes deeply into the classic pitfalls of time travel, and I would argue it has no obligation to—it’s a TV dramedy, no one is expecting Becca to contemplate what level of responsibility she has, if any, to say, use her future knowledge to stop national tragedies. Similarly, the show never stops to recognize the common time travel fear of the implications of changing even one little thing. This works because the time travel rules in use have yet to be explained on the show, and they may never be. That’s not what the show is; the show is about everything that happens as a result. It’s safe to say, though, that if this show took place in a universe where by changing anything Becca could seriously alter the fabric of time, everyone would be screwed because even just in season one, she made massive changes in her own life and the lives of those around her.

One of the major questions the show seems to pose is how much of life is destined and how much isn’t. Again, pretty deep stuff for a VH1 dramedy, but the show seems to take the stance that it’s a little of both. For example, in an early episode Becca panics when she accidentally prevents someone from going on a blind date that she later finds out was with their future husband. She was terrified she had ruined their lives, but the two simply met by chance the next day at a coffee shop instead without further intervention. Similarly, destiny seems to be at work (at least Becca thinks it is) in the situation leading to the dissolution of her friendship with Lolly. Becca learns that while there is a lot she can control, some things seem unavoidable, and this is an interesting question to ponder.

Hindsight has already been renewed for season two, which is very exciting because the cliffhanger ending of season one opened up several possibilities for where the story could go next. There is plenty of time to catch up before then, just be prepared for the unexpectedly deep questions about fate and past decisions that will pop into your head as a result.


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