Netflix’s Clickbait Is Surprisingly Good

Note: This series is not for everyone. Not that the message is bad, but there are a few elements that will offend some people. It’s really too bad that the first episode includes some of the most offensive scenes. Even if they are short scenes, they could make people decide not to watch the rest of it. Just close your eyes or fast forward it. The action moves very quickly.

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Hubby and I watched half of this series in two days. Yes, we binged. Not out of boredom, but out of wanting to know how it ended. Netflix calls it a Limited series, which I wrongly assumed meant that it would have just a few episodes. So we started watching it thinking we could watch all of it in one sitting, and then we realized it was 8 episodes, so we went to bed.

The main players in this drama are as follows:
The sister, Pia Brewer, played by Zoe Kazan;
The wife, Sophie Brewer, played by Betty Gabriel;
The husband, Nick Brewer, played by Adrian Grenier;
The cop, Roshan Amiri, played by Phoenix Raei;
The older son, Ethan Brewer, played by Cameron Engels;
The younger son, Kai Brewer, played by Jaylin Fletcher,
and The friend, Matt Aldin, played by Ian Meadows.

The rest of the cast can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10888878/ .

What is Clickbait about? SPOILERS AHEAD.

The show opens with an extended family at a table celebrating grandma’s birthday. Here we meet the main characters, husband and wife and their two teenage sons, the sister of the husband, and the grandma.

At the opening dinner we learn that the bleach blonde, leather jacketed sister, Pia, does not get along well with her brother Nick’s wife, Sophie. Pia does not approve of the planter that Sophie picked out for her mother’s group gift. The dinner ends in Pia getting angry and saying ugly things to Sophie and Nick telling her to get out of his house.

Pia she storms out and gets drunk in a club, among other things. While drunk she scrolls a dating site and clicks on a photo and was going to meet the guy, but then drops her phone in the toilet. This guy, Roshan, happens to a be a cop and is a main character.

The next day a hungover Pia goes to her job where she works as some kind of healthcare worker in what looks like a chemo center. She is with a young, tech genius who is a patient and they start watching a video. That’s when the action starts.

In the video we see her brother being held captive by kidnappers and there’s a message saying that he will be killed when the video gets 5,000,000 views. To make it more mysterious, he is holding signs saying, I ABUSE WOMEN and I KILLED A WOMAN. This baffles his wife and sister and everyone else because they know Nick as a very loving and gentle man.

At first they are in shock and think it must be a fake video, but then Pia quickly jumps into action. She leaves the hospital and tries to contact Nick’s phone, then barges in on Sophie at her job, then they both go to the police. One thing you can say about Pia, she is a strong, brave woman who gets things done, even if she lacks tact and diplomacy.

The rest of the series is about Pia and Roshan trying to find Nick, then trying to find out who kidnapped him, and all kinds of twists and turns. Just when you think you know ‘whodunnit’, you find out you’re wrong! In the end, it turns out that it’s someone you probably never thought of because that character is not shown very much. We also discover what’s really happening in Nick and Sophie’s marriage, why Pia and Nick are so close, and the secrets of the other characters.

I don’t want to give away too many details, but I want to share some of the lessons.

1. Secrets lead to bad things. In this story, there are many, many secrets and much bad communication. If people just had been honest, none of this would have happened. Lies and deceit from little ones to monsters are going on everywhere.

2. Technology is a super amazing tool that can be used for good and for bad. This series at first glance just seemed like a ‘technology and the internet is bad!’ message, but then I started to see that wasn’t the case. The case is solved THANKS to technology, even if the case was caused BY technology. Phones and computers are used in every scene , just like in real life. It seems a bit overdone until you realize that’s how it really is.

3.Cheating on your spouse is a bad thing. We see the unintended consequences of internet dating apps and also simple infidelity. I liked that the cheating was not portrayed in a positive light, but was portrayed as a human temptation and could be forgiven. There was no ‘hooking up’ in the movie. Even the dating app users were looking for a real connection.

Spoiler Alert! Stop here if you don’t want more spoilers.

http://www.netflix.com


4. It’s very easy to make a fake profile with stolen photos and very hard to know what is real and who you are talking to online. Voices can be faked, photos altered, entire identities stolen and you would never even know what they look like unless you met that person in real life (IRL) or in a video chat. Even then they could use a fake name and identity. So, yes, this movie is about catfishing. I’ve been told that Catfish is a show on MTV, but I haven’t seen it. Catfishing in social media terms simply means pretending to be someone you’re not in an online profile.

5.The desire to be famous or for a promotion can lead to bad decisions. Two of the characters do things that get them in trouble because of their drive for success, but one of them learns from his mistakes.

6. Even if all the evidence seems to point to one conclusion, it could still be wrong. There could be a whole ‘nother pile of evidence that you haven’t found yet. So don’t be quick to judge guilt or innocence. Such as the Gabby Petito case. I know it seems obvious that the boyfriend killed her, but we should wait to see if more evidence comes out.

7. Temptations to pretend to be someone else are powerful and potentially dangerous. This story could happen in real life. What seemed like harmless playing around online, creating fake profiles and having fake relationships, turned into something serious. The character who did it was a lonely person with two much time on their hands.

8. Protect access to your phone and computer and be careful what you put on social media.

Should you spend your time watching this series?

I think you should if you like drama, tech and mystery. I give this series 4.5 stars for entertainment and acting and suspense.

A few annoying things:

  • The scenes switched too quickly. For example, two people would meet, say a couple of sentences then one would walk away before resolving anything. It drove me a little crazy! Pia was constantly coming and going.
  • The series includes the usual quota of every ethnic group, a Muslim, gay characters, and a biracial couple, even though the actual percentage of those groups in real life is not that high. I understand why they do that, but I also feel like it’s forced, not natural.
  • I don’t like snotty characters and Pia was pretty hard to like, even though she is good at getting things done.
  • An unnecessarily crude comment by a woman about Sophie’s husband.

Things I liked:

  • As a mom of boys, I felt that the teenagers were portrayed very realistically, including being very good at using technology, not being listened to by the adults, having cool video game setups, having sibling quarrels, and being anxious.
  • Nick’s wife and sister end up becoming allies and friends as they struggle through the aftereffects of the crime.
  • The crime committed was the result of a series of bad decisions, not just pure evil, so it seem more realistic.
  • I’m glad the series is limited and we don’t have to wait for the next one!

Did you watch Clickbait? What did you think? Have you ever been a victim of catfishing or had your identity or photos stolen? Do you think movies and TV shows should have racial and other diversity group quotas?

9 comments

  1. I watched it a couple weeks ago and found it very thought-provoking. One of the things I have always found fascinating about people’s behavior on social media (and I imagine dating sites would count too) is that when people create an avatar, they become less connected to the idea that their actions have consequences. They still possess agency, but they seem to suspend disbelief that they do. They also get to a point where they genuinely want to hurt other people, and then they are shocked that people in the real world regard them as sociopaths. I think you can attribute a lot of our political problems as a country to this behavior becoming habituated and normalized.

  2. I watched the series and realized from the start there had to be a twist.
    I don’t think movie producers have quotas. They are trying to appeal to as many people as possible.
    Just like social media, it’s about eye balls on screens.

    I’d give it a 4. In the first few episodes the actor playing Pia was way over acting and her character looked ridiculous. She got better.

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