In ‘Gypsy,’ Naomi Watts Drinks Bourbon, Questions Everything

Psychothrillers. We can’t get enough of them. We had our Gone Girl, our Girl on the Train and now we want more. Enter Netflix’s new drama, Gypsy. It follows the unraveling life of Jean, a therapist who deals with her suburban ennui by spying on her patients’ loved ones. At home, her gender-non-conforming daughter stirs up her own repressed identity struggles and her husband’s wandering eye lands on his assistant, the aspiring writer Alexis. On the surface, this show has everything. The incredibly likable and nuanced Naomi Watts. A solid, diverse cast. Stevie Nicks songs. Mystery.

And yet, the writing of the show just can’t keep up with its red-hot cast and premise. Naomi Watts can only take so many sexually-charged showers before we start wondering just why she hates her mom so much, or like, who is that dangerous former patient her co-workers keep talking about? It foreshadows a lot of drama, but can’t quite pay off on it. At best, it’s a bad show that’s incredibly well-acted. In the heat of summer, that may be reason enough to binge the whole season with a cool glass of bourbon in hand.

Overall Impression

It seems like the creators picked a random song and tried to make a show inspired by it. Gypsy by Stevie Nicks … what might be interesting for that? How about a sexually repressed therapist who likes bedding young singer-songwriters? I’d watch it.

Why You Should Watch It

You love any and everything Naomi Watts does and you think Jennifer Melfi (The Sopranos) was one of the greatest characters of all time.

Best Part

The chemistry between Jean (Naomi Watts) and Michael (Billy Crudup) made the disorder of the rest of the show somewhat worth it.

Worst Part

There are several:

-I couldn’t stand how often the show repeated the conceit of Jean turning into Diane when she switched from wine to bourbon. We don’t need this much signposting!

-If you look closely at Alexis’ story that she gets into N+1, it starts with the word “so.” As in, “So, I used to live in Cleveland.” I just can’t imagine submitting something to a prestigious journal that starts with the word “so.” That’s how you start sentences when you know your grandpa isn’t listening but you really need to tell him about your papier mâché horse.

-Their daughter, Dolly, clearly isn’t 9. She’s like 6, right?

-The “mysterious” side plot involving a former patient who burned down a building made the institutionalization plot on Riverdale seem highly sophisticated.

-Jean says she’s a cognitive behavioral therapist but she spends most of her time asking her patients, “And how does that make you feel?” That’s like “Misrepresenting Therapists 101.”

Alternate Interpretation

Risqué sponsored content for Bulleit bourbon.

Overall Rating

6/10. A rambling, at times cliché look at the psyche of a psychologist. While it’s not the best storytelling, its cast makes it compelling nonetheless.