'ERIC' | REVIEW

Jun 6, 2024

'ERIC' | REVIEW

Jun 6, 2024

'ERIC' | REVIEW

Jun 6, 2024

Benedict Cumberbatch who is previously known from roles like Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes is back in the new Netflix show ‘Eric’. In the show he plays the alcoholic puppeteer Vincent. Vincent's lifework is the Sesame Street-esque show Good day sunshine that he is making together with his friend Lennie (Danny Fogler) in New york during the 80s. After executives demand that they put in a new more edgy character Vincent is at a loss and he lashes out at co-workers and family. The day after a significantly rough altercation between him and his wife, his son Edgar (Ivan Morris Howe) disappears while walking alone to school. Vincent feels remorse for not walking with him that day and decides that the best way to get Edgar back is to get Edgars character Eric, a monster with close resemblance to Vincent, on the puppet show Good day Sunshine. While Vincent is drunkenly trying to go through with his plan he starts seeing hallucinations of the monster and it is revealed that he has had a mental illness since childhood that makes him see things that aren’t really there. Vincent is not alone in searching for Edgar, the NYPD detective Ledroit (McKinley Belcher III) is on the case suspecting that it is somehow linked with fourteen year old Marlon Rochell who disappeared 11 months prior.

Image courtesy of © 2023 Netflix, Inc.

When looking at this show it is noticeable that this is a rather high budget affair. There is not much to criticize in the case of camera work, lighting, effects and sound design. Every shot is very well put together technologically. The show has wonderful practical effects with very well made puppets that look stunning, especially the Eric suit. This is especially impressive from my perspective as most of these puppets only appear in the background of scenes. The acting is also in general very well performed from a majority of the cast. I do have some issues with the writing though. Much of it works well but I feel like the series is very slowly paced and much of it could be removed or cut down.

Image courtesy of © 2023 Netflix, Inc.

The show is clearly trying to be more than its initial premise of an alcoholic dad searching for his son while being followed by hallucinations. It attempts to tackle era relevant issues like homophobia, racism, and police corruption which is ambitious and the topics are still relevant today. I feel however that the show somewhat bites off more than it can chew and gets sort of confused in its messaging. This isn't helped by the roundabout way the story is portrayed. The main focus would be assumed to be between Vincent and Edgar and their relationship but the B-plot focusing on Ledroit, which is very unrelated to the A-plot, takes up more space then the A-plot and is at large disassociated thematically. At points the Ledroit parts are trying to show how society is treating black, homeless, and gay people as second class citizens but they are also quick to associate the groups with negative stereotypes. Many of the earlier established gay characters are revealed to be related to a pedophilic sex ring later in the show and the homeless people are quickly linked to substance abuse which is one of Vincent's worst traits. These decisions can feel dubious even if nothing bad was intended.

Image courtesy of © 2023 Netflix, Inc.

In the show Vincent is frequently hallucinating the monster Eric that talks down to him and is heavily implied to be how Edgar looks at him. Throughout most of the series Eric, the hallucination, is mostly inconsequential. Eric doesn’t do a lot and rather just stands around. Throughout most of the show Eric feels mostly like a gimmick that doesn't add much. Vincent often talks loudly with Eric while having discussions with others. This doesn't really accomplish much either as most characters either ignore it or just respond by looking weirdly at Vincent even when he does things like screaming shut up. The Eric hallucinations do however lead to a very touching scene later when Vincent accepts that he is Eric and that he has to change for his son.

Image courtesy of © 2023 Netflix, Inc.

This show was not exactly my cup of tea. It feels very dragged out and some plot points don't really feel all that relevant to the main narrative. Unexpectedly Ledroit is mostly played as the main character although one might assume that Vincent would take that role. Most of the Marlon Rochell story is completely unrelated to the disappearance of Edgar which I find to be a little annoying, but if you look at Ledroits mission as finding both Edgar and Marlon from the get go it might be easier to tolerate but that isn't explained well enough early on. This show is not the easiest to digest and it might be worth analyzing it more thoroughly as it is rather heavy and contains a lot of symbolism. When Good day Sunshine is used as an excuse to push away homeless people it can be read as a symbol for gentrification but that is in the eye of the beholder as nothing is directly stated in the show in regards to symbolism.

RATING: 3/5

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