What do you get when you combine Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, mind-altering substances and an alternative 1980s universe? Netflix’s newest original programming, Maniac.
Per usual, it was a Sunday night and I was vegging out in my apartment with my friend Emma. While we love each other’s company, after a giant meal at Quality Eats (thick bacon served alongside fresh peanut butter and jalapeño jelly), we needed something to distract ourselves from our recently distended stomachs.
A quick aside: Emma and I discovered Game of Thrones, just as unassumingly, in the wake of another grossly indulgent meal dinner in 2011. I’ll never forget the way we looked at each other, wide-eyed and mouths gaping, after seeing Jamie and Cersei together in Winterfell. Needless to say, whenever we start a new show together, we silently hope that it will be as monumentally groundbreaking as that first episode of Thrones.
Maniac, which we settled on with little debate, did not strike us in that same way. While we clicked onwards to the next episode without hesitation, we did so more because we were confused than for any other reason. What the heck was going on? Sure, the alternate universe was fascinating and thought-provoking, but as Emma said, “I think there’s a lot of social commentary happening that’s going right over my head.”
After another episode, and a little more plot development, we were hooked. The commentary became more heavy-handed, we started to feel smart, and we began to develop that crazy, pre-Netflix binge buzz. It was going to be a long night…
Maniac is weird, and it’s not my place to tell you what it’s about. If you’re open to something different, and if you’re craving some more peak television that keeps you endlessly, but also far too briefly captivated, Maniac should be your next undertaking.
Is it good? I don’t know.