Out of the three potential pilots on offer from Amazon “Originals” I Love Dick is the oddest. Adapted from the 1997 Chris Kraus “feminist” book of the same name, it is a compelling bit of “Chick Lit” turned into a small screen flick. (That will become a weekly series if approved.) At least one female reviewer waxed lyrical about the show’s poking fun at the artistic community.
Suffice to say that is only partly correct. Jill Soloway has focussed on the educated artistic community. The academic elite who masquerade their learned intelligence under a facade of high ideals and world travel.
“You know,” says Sylvere to a young woman dangling her bare feet in a fishpond, “in Japan there are koi ponds where the fish nibble the calluses right off your feet.” This line speaks volumes about the show and the characters in it.
While the academic author attempts to impress the young lady with his knowledge as a world traveller, he slips, ever so slightly, into vulgarity.
He need not have bothered.
This ginger-haired female knows of what he speaks. They have the same in Bali, she tells him. “Have you ever been,” she asks. Sylvere has not. (Not that one needs to, in Norwich, Norfolk in England there is a small mall that has these callus nibbling fish in a store. Presumably there are other places which also offer skin eating fish…)
I Love Dick is a title that just hints at vulgarity. (One presumes that if Kraus were English the title would have been “I Love Willy” and the male object of her fascination would have been named the same.) It opens up possibilities before the first frame of the show is even seen.
Casting Hahn as Chris aids in this sexual connotation. The woman exudes sex from every pore. With her tousled look, sleepy eyes and bruised lips, Hahn seemingly advertises rampant libido.
The plot, in a nutshell, has a female filmmaker; Chris and her academic author husband; Sylvere plucked from their urban setting. He has been accepted as a “fellow” in Marfa, Texas, a retreat for artistic types. They go to the artistic community in the small Texas tow and it is a rural setting they are ill equipped to handle.
Chris’ short film, that was due to be shown at the Venice film festival (Italy not California.) it is withdrawn because of copyright issues with a song in the film. They attend a party and Chris locks eyes with Dick.
She is lost.
Apart from the “fish out of water” theme the pilot seems to deal with instant infatuation, obsession and those charismatic people who effortlessly capture our attention.
Chris is attracted to Dick instantly. She decides to stay in Marfa after the author not so subtly denigrates Chris as a filmmaker. After Dick’s initial interest, he now seems less than interested in Sylvere’s wife.
She does not notice.
I Love Dick is fascinating to watch. The imagery, the music and the bubbling sexual interest Chris has for Dick makes this show oddly compelling. It has to be said that the premise of the series, these “letters” to Dick, is less interesting than the trappings.
The music is almost hypnotizing and it fleshes out each scene to brilliant effect.
The pilot is free to watch on Amazon right now. It is competing against Jean-Claude Van Johnson and The Tick. Head over and watch all three and see what you think. Can I Love Dick work as a weekly series?
Amazon really wants to know and so do we. Tell us how you rate I Love Dick.
- Kathryn Hahn – Chris
- Griffin Dunne – Sylvere
- Kevin Bacon – Dick