Parenting isn’t easy; that’s not a particularly shocking statement. However, television doesn’t often explore the difficulties of being a parent. Netflix’s The Letdown explores the less than glamorous aspects of parenthood. In the pilot of the Australian series, the audience watches as new parent Audrey is awakened in her car by a drug dealer after finally getting her daughter to fall asleep. As the show goes on Audrey and the members of a mommy support group discuss the realities of giving birth, breastfeeding, sleep training and other less than sparkly aspects of child rearing. What was refreshing to see is that the parents never blame their babies for their struggles. They don’t pinpoint their children as the source of their newfound misery.
The mommy group becomes increasingly more important to Audrey as the series carries on because her pre-baby friends can’t be bothered with her and her family isn’t interested in helping with her daughter.
The show explores how having a child doesn’t make parents into superheroes. One of the mom’s in Audrey’s support group always appears to be the perfect mother, her baby is well behaved and she is impeccable at all times on social media. The reality is that with enough Instagram filters even incontinence can look glamorous. The Letdown gives viewers an honest look into how it can be difficult to balance the new responsibilities of parenting and feeling like yourself.
While it has its moments of humor, The Letdown, as its title suggests, leaves viewers less than satisfied. In its brief season it tries to explore more characters than the time available allows. The attempts to examine the other mothers’ back stories is halfhearted and muddles the plot. The series aims to reach the new parent audience, but it might not even appeal to those who spend their evenings begging a wailing infant to nod off to sleep.
The Letdown has seven 30-minute episodes on Netflix. Viewers might also enjoy watching more amusing parenting-related fodder. Both Bridget Jones’s Baby and Jane the Virgin are available for streaming on Netflix.