Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week, Derrick Gravener is watching A Teacher on FX on Hulu, Hal Kitchen is listening to Sawayama (Deluxe) from Rina Sawayama, and Brien Allen is excited about the trailer for Season 3 of Cobra Kai on Netflix.
Derrick: Based off of Hannah Fidell’s film of the same name, miniseries darling FX on Hulu, brings us A Teacher starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson, which rolls out weekly until December 29th.
What could come off as a Sunday special on consent and power dynamics in a teacher/student relationship feels shockingly lived-in and real. A Teacher gets at a dark underbelly of questions that are not typically on the surface in conversations about consent, and to its narrative benefit, doesn’t shove the answer in your face—it merely presents you with flawed human choices and their consequences. What happens when the student kisses the teacher first? What happens when the student turns eighteen? What happens when they fall in love?
And when that all falls apart, what happens to the trauma in the body? How does socialized masculinity affect conversations around consent? And what happens to the reputation of both parties?
This week’s Episode 7 starts to address these questions, and also serves as a powerful dramatic showcase for Love, Simon’s Nick Robinson who holds his own in the series first Kate Mara-less episode. It’s an episode filled with anger, regret, and shame that feels lived-in, complicated, and also unapologetic. What do you do when you miss the person who traumatized you so badly? How do you deal with a trauma that everyone else has labeled for you?
With three episodes left, I am excited to see what Hannah Fidell and her team turn in. That, and for more of Kate Mara (who finds her best role since House of Cards). What I’ve seen of the series so far has been thought-provoking without being intentionally provocative, comfortable and yet cringe-worthy, and just a slew of other contradictions that make up our messy, messy human species.