Review of the TV Series 'SMILF'
SMILF (acronym for Single Mother I'd Like To F—k) is a half-hour dramedy (comedic drama) series adapted from Frankie Shaw's short film of the same title that ended up winning Short Film Jury Award at Sundance 2015.
The series is created by and stars Frankie Shaw as Brigette Bird, the titular “SMILF,” a single-mother who is born and bred in the predominantly Irish-American area of Boston, known as “Southie.”
I am a sucker for any casual drama that takes place in any big city.
As a fan of Shameless, which shares similarities, I gave SMILF a chance. I am satisfied with the direction the show as taken though I wish the season had more episodes. I'll assume that the eight-episode run of SMILF's first season is to test the waters to see if Showtime will pick it up for a new season.
The show premiered Sunday night on November 5th, 2017.
So far it is confirmed that SMILF will get a second season.
You can watch all eight episodes on demand through Showtime Anytime, Hulu w/Showtime or Amazon Instant Video w/Showtime.
I found SMILF the perfect compliment to Shameless.
SMILF's story is somewhat plot-driven and mostly character-driven.
The story focuses on the titular heroine, Bridgette, as she reevaluates her sex life after giving birth to her son, Larry (like an homage to Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics). I have to say that Bridgette's situation contrasts from that of Fiona Gallagher from Shameless BUT she still has her own fair share of ups and downs.
Bridgette is struggling as a single parent and just trying to make end's meet.
It's very difficult for Bridgette because she's struggling to pay rent, bills and other expenses while trying to provide for Larry. This really puts a damper on Bridgette's sex life which is nil at the moment as her ex-boyfriend and Larry's father, Rafi, is in a relationship with someone else now.
I feel bad for Bridgette because she's incredibly hot and struggles to get laid through the series.
However I commend Bridgette for not ditching Larry in order to get laid.
SMILF, in a nutshell, is an underdog story as Bridgette is a struggling mother working multiple jobs and hoping to be able to live her dreams. I couldn't help but feel bad for Bridgette many times. One example I can bring up is Bridgette receiving an invite to try out for the WNBA, unfortunately she didn't get picked and her professional basketball dreams were dashed.
I cannot stress how much of a true underdog Bridgette is.
To say that Bridgette tries is an understatement. I also felt bad that the people Bridgette went on blind dates with were misogynistic jerks, too. One example is an early episode, the same one where Bridgette tried out for the WNBA, where she went on a cheap blind date with an older guy whose daughter is also trying out.
The date turned into a friendly conversation only for the guy to ruin it by making an unwanted sexual advance on Bridgette.
More layers of Bridgette's past and personality are uncovered as the story progresses. I was surprised at the season finale where Bridgette is using an online dating app, recommended by a friend, and finds someone who resembles her estranged father leading to the revelation that she was sexually abused by her father.
Resentment towards her mother, Tutu (played by Rosie O'Donnell), rises.
It becomes a hard lesson that victims don't always get justice for the pain they suffered. Tutu reveals that she tried to get Bridgette's father locked up as a result but her pleas fell upon deaf ears.
At least Bridgette has the support of her family, her best friend, Rafi (played by Miguel Gomez), and Nelson (Rafi's current girlfriend, played by Samara Weaving).
Not much I can say about SMILF, it's a “slice of life” story where there's no set plot.
And yes, Bridgette trying to get laid and rebuilding confidence about her own sexuality is a driving point in the SMILF but there's much more to the story than sex. This what makes SMILF a rather compelling and engaging series to watch.
Bridgette is looking for sex but she's not willing to toss herself around as a cheap hooker.
When sex is out of the question, there's always basketball (a big influence in Shaw's life throughout her childhood).
The story tells a strong story that there is nothing wrong with being horny. Bridgette is human and she has sexual needs, too. Though Bridgette is a single parent, she's still like any other person with sexual urges that need to be quenched.
Bridgette does get laid a definitely few times but she is by no means an easy woman.
It is definitely a journey for Bridgette as she is just trying to get through the end of the day. She does have some somewhat steady job as a tutor and on-call personal assistant to this wealthy woman, Ally (played by Connie Britton), which plays an integral role to the story.
At least Bridgette is trying to make money through legal means. I laughed at some of the crazy ways such as trying to do a cam show of herself using her body to pop balloons only to end up in failure.
Bridgette is far from perfect because she is still prone to making impulsive and reckless decisions.
The fantasy scenes are a nice touch, too, as they reference Wonder Woman and Run, Lola, Run.
I enjoyed the Run, Lola, Run reference as Shaw went all out looking and acting the part of the titular Lola (portrayed by Franka Potente in the original film). That includes the red wig and the German dialogue, too.
Other characters have their own struggles, too, such as Rafi who used to be a drug addict. He is working an immense balancing act between being a good father to Larry, making sure he doesn't relapse (he goes to those Narcotics Anonymous meetings) and not making the same mistakes with Bridgette in his current relationship with Rose.
It does suck when Bridgette's life is either remaining neutral or going down while Rafi's life is gradually improving.
I overall liked the story but I did feel that it was still could use a bit more humor. There needed to be some more comical situations that would have me rolling on the floor laughing. I will say that it served as an interesting contrast to Shameless.
The first season ended on a satisfactory note revealing how emotionally damaged Bridgette and her mother, Tutu, are as they are both victims of sexual abuse. I hope the show will focus more on Bridgette's past because it is interesting uncharted territory. This also establishes that mother and daughter still have their inner demons to fight.
That story dynamic also plays well in Bridgette's sexuality, too.
Deep down the story sparks a debate on female sexuality and it can be mirrored with the current debate (sparked by the recent story about actor Aziz Ansari) about the #METOO movement. I do hope that the second season will address the #METOO movement because I think it would be a good dynamic for Bridgette and Tutu.
The real life inspiration, surprisingly, is way more tame. It has me more curious about Shaw's life throughout her childhood as fragments were taken there, such as basketball, and implemented into SMILF.
I liked how Shaw implemented her life as a struggling actress and mother, too, which is shown in one episode doing a promotional video for veterans struggling with PTSD.
The setting of SMILF reminds me of the 1999 independent film, Southie, starring Donnie Wahlberg and Rose McGowan. I would like to see more of South Boston's Irish community in future episodes of the show.
SMILF's main and recurring casts are small but they work as the characters contribute major parts to the story.
Bridgette is one tough cookie who made some reckless choices in her life and is paying for them but at least she's owning up. She is trying to make a better life for herself while navigating through the hurdles of being a single-parent, co-op parenting with Rafi, trying to make end's meet and ultimately trying to get laid again.
I felt bad for Bridgette because she is being treated as a slut just because she wants to get laid.
Going on dates to get laid ultimately makes her a target for any predator with the prime example being that casual date at a grocery store food court.
Society has unfairly shamed Bridgette for being a single mom and trying to get laid.
I have to say that I am a fan of Frankie Shaw after watching SMILF. If I had not checked out SMILF, I wouldn't know who she was.
I do wish Rafi could do more to help out Bridgette since she's struggling and he isn't struggling as much. If Rafi contributed more, it could make Bridgette's life a bit easier and that is something she desperately needs.
Bridgette can't really afford a babysitter and Tutu can't take care of Larry all the time.
Also Bridgette's not going to drop her kid off with someone she barely even knows either.
I will commend Rafi for trying though because it is hard going sober.
Even though Bridgette made impulsive decisions in the past, Rafi still acts like a kid at times. I'm hoping Rafi shapes up more in the next season, especially if he wants to truly have something serious with Nelson.
I would love to see a flashback scene on how Bridgette and Rafi hooked up in the first place.
Miguel Gomez's portrayal as Rafi is quite the contrast to his rule as Gus from The Strain.
Nelson surprised me in many different ways. I think the first thing about Nelson that surprised me is that she's Australian which I felt was spontaneous in a good way. I was further surprised at how incredibly sweet and nice Nelson is.
She is, to me, the sister Bridgette never had.
The relationship between Bridgette and Nelson is rather pleasant.
I'm also curious as to how Rafi and Nelson even hooked up in the first place as Nelson makes pretty good money as a news reporter while Rafi is still struggling.
Tutu, Bridgette's mother, also struggles because she's taking care of her current live-in boyfriend, Joe (portrayed by Blake Clark), who requires constant care. I cringed when Tutu told Bridgette that Joe s—ts in a bag, obviously a colonoscopy bag.
I felt incredibly bad for Joe because his life is like that but he does a good job providing moral support for Bridgette.
Even Tutu has her own issues to sort out and it makes things harder because she cannot always be there for Bridgette, though she wants to, all the time. One example is that Tutu went around town in a daze around town while Bridgette needed her to take care of Larry while she had to do an important job. I will say that at least Tutu is there for Bridgette compared to Shameless when neither Monica nor Frank were there for Fiona.
Even Tutu is prone to making mistakes such as cheating on Joe in one episode in hopes of rekindling a relationship with Edmund, now working as a doctor, who she had a relationship with a long time ago in the past. The appearance of Edmund, an Asian-American, surprised me because I don't often see a good representation of Asian-American males in romantic situations.
I'm convinced that Shaw is taking lengths to make the show culturally diverse as possible.
Edmund's appearance, to me, shows that Shaw is trying to add plausibility and not adding characters for the sake of being diverse.
Even though it was for one brief scene, I felt it worked.
Tutu also has her inner demons to fight as she, too, was sexually abused as a child. I think Tutu represents what being powerless means because she ended up marrying someone who would sexually abuse Bridgette. She tried everything within her legal power to get the guy locked up for what he did to Bridgette but no luck.
I'm glad Tutu found closure with Bridgette when they talked about it after all these years.
I understand why Tutu didn't want to talk about it. Tutu took it as a major “L” with major repercussions. Most of us don't like talking about our failures in life because they are depressing and others will use them to bring you down. In Tutu's mind, she failed at being a parent for not being able to protect Bridgette the best she could.
The guilt, shame and grief is a lot to handle.
At least Bridgette can lean on the shoulder of her best friend, Eliza (played by Raven Goodwin), who does remind me of Veronica from Shameless. I think Bridgette would be in a very bad place without having Eliza there to help her out in times of need.
Eliza fully understands the situation and even offers money without getting paid back.
There's also Eliza's sister, Regina (played by Gabrielle Maiden), who helps out in her own way by being brutally honest with Bridgette. Regina, currently employed as a lawyer, is trying to build her career and doesn't need to be dragged into Bridgette's problems.
Regina tries to be as detached as possible but isn't a heartless person and it shows when she gives legal advice to Bridgette when dealing with her father.
Then there's Ally and her family which has its own comical drama. I think Ally would be unable to fully function if Bridgette was not there for her. I also find Ally's needs to be a hindrance because the employment agreement is for Bridgette to be there for her at any given time.
One example is when Bridgette was trying out for the WNBA the same time Ally decided to get cosmetic work done to herself.
With Ally bedridden, Bridgette had to be there for her.
I think Ally's family is dysfunctional in a closeted way and there are potential marriage problems. I believe that because Ally secretly smokes weed, which Bridgette caught her doing, along with her asking Bridgette if she would be interested in a sexual 3-some.
I was like “are they really that BORED with their marriage?”
I'm glad Bridgette turned down the 3-some because it was be seriously awkward because she's already banging Ally's 18-year-old son, Casey (played by Austin Abrams), with the aftermath of the first sex encounter leading to the Bridgette's awkward encounter with Ally hitting that joint in her car.
As for Casey, I was surprised that he ended up banging Bridgette twice.
He is still rather clueless about sex and I believe Bridgette is not necessarily the best person to teach him because she has her problems to deal with. The awkward sex scene in between Bridgette and Casey in her bathroom during the final episode was a prime example. Bridgette wanted sex so bad that she phoned Casey over.
Casey couldn't even get into the sex because Bridgette was getting triggered by bad memories of her father.
I'm curious how that relationship goes in the second season.
The pacing of SMILF was a bit slow for me but I'm glad I committed to watching the entire first season and I look forward to the second season. Even though SMILF is classified as a comedy, the series needed a bit more of it.
I think SMILF has the potential to be funny and that's why I'm giving the first season a chance.
Given how SMILF airs right after Shameless, I was curious on how similar and different the shows would be. As much as I love Shameless, I'm glad that SMILF went its own direction though it has a rocky start.
SMILF does have plenty of potential as a contrast to Shameless.
I'm hoping that the second season will be funnier than the first season. I also hope the second season will be longer, too. I wasn't satisfied with the way SMILF's first season had ended.
Bridgette is a strong female character who is trying to better her life and her son's life. There's nothing wrong with trying to get some action, too, on the side. SMILF has plenty of great morals to teach such as mothers in general are people, too. A single mother is still a single female if she's still looking for something.
Wanting to have sex is nothing to be shamed of.
Being a single mother who wants sex is nothing to be ashamed of either though we live in a society where people believe they should be shamed.
Even though Bridgette made impulsive decisions in the past, she's trying to move forward regardless of what stands in her way.
If you like a good underdog story, check out SMILF.
Being a single parent is definitely hard and they deserve more credit. Though it can be hard for Bridgette because she's still discovering who she is.
SMILF teaches the ever valuable lesson that the world stops for and does not grant mercy to anybody, including single parents.