No Expectations 016: T.V. Eye
Two music-related series are streaming on Prime Video with ‘Swarm’ and ‘Daisy Jones & the Six.’
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There are a couple of essays I started here and had to bail on and save for next week. On Monday, I noticed my parked car had been sideswiped, totally destroying the driver’s side mirror and paint job. So, instead of working on the newsletter and all the freelance assignments I had this week, I had to take a chunk out of the day to figure out how to file an insurance claim and take it to the auto shop. It’s not ideal but it’s just stuff: I’ll only be carless for about a week and only out a few hundred bucks for the insurance deductible. These things happen but I’d like to thank the paid subscribers whose patronage helped make that unexpected cost totally manageable. It truly means the world.
‘Swarm’ tries to find the horror in stan culture
No show has ever been more blatant about its real-life inspirations than Prime Video’s Swarm. Janine Nabers and Donald Glover’s new TV series about a murderous superfan of a fictional pop star Ni’Jah relentlessly mirrors Beyoncé and her fandom the Hive down to the most comically minute details throughout. Ni’Jah is married to a mega-famous rapper Cachet, her sister is also an artist who makes music, and the three were in a fight in an elevator following Cachet’s infidelity. Her fans, called “the Swarm,” refer to their hero as “Queen” and mobilize online to defend the pop star at all costs through death threats, cyberbullying, and doxxing. You could write thousands of words on every easter egg and blatant reference here. Plus, every episode begins with the disclaimer: “This is not a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is intentional.” This “ripped from the headlines” approach is groan-worthy on paper but more compelling taking in these seven meta, satirical, and violent episodes. Spoilers ahead.