Netflix’s new fantasy sequence, Candy Tooth, first appears to be like like a crudely fictionalized model of 2020. A illness colloquially known as The Sick spreads quickly amongst people whereas overwhelming infrastructure, grinding every day life to a halt, and racking up a physique depend. When this story begins, society tries to place itself collectively once more. An unnamed narrator calls it “The Nice Crumble.”
This catastrophe, nevertheless, cannot be contained even to the extent of COVID-19. No treatment or vaccination has been found, so most people choose to dwell in isolation both as people or as disease-free teams. This withdrawal has allowed nature to primarily step into the void—animals beforehand solely seen in a zoo roam free, and landscapes develop out in full to replenish what society beforehand destroyed for sources.
Oh, and in Candy Tooth, the subsequent technology of youngsters seems to incorporate half-animal/half-human people referred to as Hybrids. The ratio of column A to column B varies—some discuss, some do not; many appear to be conventional youngsters with small animal options; all retain skills like heightened listening to or scent—however nobody appears to know something for certain. Why did this evolution occur? What number of are there? And, most pertinent, what makes Hybrids proof against The Sick? Within the face of all that thriller, some parts of this new world take a look at Hybrids as a hopeful evolution of humanity, a gaggle of people society ought to shield and assist thrive. Others, although, see Hybrids as a hindrance to humanity getting previous The Sick and returning to normalcy. Particularly, Hybrids’ immunity to The Sick has swaths of this new world inquisitive about whether or not their DNA might be harvested for therapy or prevention.
In the midst of this complete mess sits Gus, a deerboy Hybrid who merely lived a quiet life in an remoted Yellowstone cabin along with his father till, properly, you’ll be able to in all probability see the place that is headed. Fortunately, that predictability does not make the journey forward any much less enjoyable.
Grin, grim, grin once more
So, our Tom Sawyer-loving deerkid has to set off on a country-traversing journey of his personal, and all through, he’ll encounter quite a few people with unknown motives who might want him useless or could associate as much as grow to be a discovered household of kinds. I watched a big portion of the sequence with a teen sibling, and for sure they have been capable of name out lots of the particular person episode’s twists and turns. Candy Tooth covers rather a lot of well-worn film and TV territory, however it can nonetheless probably have you ever in for the lengthy haul in the event you’re keen on any of the quite a few kids-versus-the-world adventures of yore (from The Goonies to Harry Potter).
That stated, I used to be amused by the sequence’ distinctive strategy to some frequent elements of its intersecting genres (child journey, post-apocalypse). When Gus and his first new partymate (a former soccer participant turned hunter/murderer named Tommy Jeppard, aka Massive Man) inevitably encounter a militarized group of individuals, that neighborhood is not filled with former cadets or marines. As a substitute, this newbie military realized its ways as a result of they have been beforehand a loyal group of associates who performed video games like Overwatch or Halo. And the scientists who stay and should type out this illness mess aren’t former authorities lab jockeys; they was once regular-old medical care suppliers. They very a lot proceed to grapple with the trauma of watching all these sufferers of The Sick deteriorate as this new world asks them to step up and lead, so these docs have their humanity in tact slightly than working solely with some “something for the better good” mentality.
It could be very, very straightforward for Candy Tooth to grow to be too darkish, too emotionally heavy, or too tiresome for viewers who’ve lived some of these items IRL within the final 16 months. Repeatedly, the present gave me flashbacks to after I used to comply with The Strolling Useless, which I had stop watching fully after hours and hours of despair. Like TWD, Candy Tooth has our heroes going by means of cycles the place they encounter many various teams of people that initially appear good and useful solely to disclose themselves to be one thing else afterward, typically with tragic outcomes. (When will folks in TV and movie study that there could also be no scarier, extra harmful place than white picket fence-lined suburban neighborhoods? Sigh.) In one other notable zombie-brains-show similarity, the unhealthy guys (whether or not that is a illness or a disassociated lunatic navy man) appear to return out on high most of the time, at the very least in these first eight episodes.
Regardless of that, Candy Tooth by no means veers fully into smash porn or nihilism. Largely, that is due to its central determine. In contrast to Rick Grimes (The Strolling Useless), June (Handmaid’s Story), or many different characters current in an apocalyptic new actuality, Gus continues to be a child. The world hasn’t crushed him down into anticipating the worst on a regular basis, and his normal optimism and surprise hold this story feeling mild sufficient regardless of many intestine punches alongside the best way. Candy Tooth‘s supply comedian wrapped in 2013, and manufacturing on this Netflix sequence started lengthy earlier than COVID-19 took over. The artistic crew had already made a number of choices to tone down the bleakness of the supply materials, and the advantages of these selections are solely amplified by the context viewers carry to the present in summer season 2021.
I’ve but to actively hunt down any pandemic-related popular culture. Perhaps my urge for food for it can finally change, although let’s revisit that in a decade. However given how all-encompassing this ongoing international state of affairs has been, after all you’ll be able to’t assist however devour a few of it, even by chance. For me, the stuff that works to this point has had a point of optimism or hope beneath the adversity, chaos, and tragedy. The risotto episode of How you can With John Wilson, for example, contains overrun grocery shops and scenes from hospitals, however it ends by underscoring our want for human interplay and the newly realized immense worth in it.
On the floor, Candy Tooth is not in regards to the pandemic in any respect. This present is for teenagers, and it’s not refined about hammering dwelling a central thought relating to humanity’s function in destroying our planet by means of local weather change and an insatiable thirst for extra. Nonetheless, the present’s plot prominently encompasses a worldwide pandemic, making it inconceivable to not take into consideration that by means of the lens of those eight episodes. Finally, Candy Tooth factors to some constructive messages amid the illness darkness.
First, do not be jerks to the youngest technology. We do not but know the way this may affect them, and they’re the longer term who will unravel this mess and navigate its lasting affect. Moreover, pushing ahead necessitates extending kindness to others. The load of the world is emotionally on everybody’s shoulders (if not bodily, to a big extent). And when it is inconceivable to know when your subsequent occasion, journey, household reunion, or no matter factor you sit up for will occur, another sort of hope should exist so that you can imagine in if you’d like any likelihood at emotional and psychological survival. Gus offers that hope to admittedly broken-down people like Massive Man, and it is easy to think about him spreading that optimistic outlook wider in S2 given the pessimistic means issues wrap this time round.
Historically, summer season at all times felt like a dumping floor for networks to strive uncommon issues as folks trip or usually get out extra; greater sequence headliners have a tendency to attend for fall returns or premieres accordingly (see Y: The Final Man or The Basis in 2021). However current years have seen surprises emerge on the finish of spring and grow to be their very own essential darlings (HBO’s Los Espookys) or megafranchises (Stranger Issues). Whether or not Candy Tooth can journey the identical shock path to stardom stays to be seen, however it’s at the very least good to have a brand new present price following as we enter one other summer season the place journey is likely to be sophisticated (although, mercifully, not as sophisticated as it’s in Candy Tooth).
Itemizing picture by Kirsty Griffin / Netflix © 2021
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