Daybreak: Josh vs the apocalypse: part 1
October 28, 2019 6:14 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Los Angeles is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it's not all bad. In fact, for C-student Josh Wheeler, it's a big improvement.
posted by miss-lapin (36 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would do an all season for this, but I do not see the option for it.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:18 AM on October 28, 2019

To do an all-season post, you just select the season number in the season field, then you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the episode field to choose ‘All’ instead of a number. Maybe just flag this post to have a mod rename it to be the season 1 thread?
posted by oh yeah! at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

My impression of the first episode is that I'm going to watch more. There's nothing wholly original, but it's a sufficiently fun post-apocalyptic-wasteland story. The lead is charismatic, and the two sidekicks are just dumb* enough to work. I'll keep watching, when I have the time.

* -- "Dumb" as in their one-dimensional high-concept characterization; the actors are doing more with "tween pyromaniac" and "Black zen samurai" than they were handed.
posted by Etrigan at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2019

Mod note: I think we got the post category fixed, drop us a line if it's still a problem!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:41 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I watched the whole season while sick last week. It's like a cross between Parker Lewis Can't lose and Zombieland with a touch of absurdist Simpsons in the characters. Totally ridiculous but very entertaining.

The reviews are amusingly focused on how it's a terrible teen show that's out of touch with the youth. Ignore them. It's very clearly a satire aimed at both apocalypse entertainment tropes and people who grew up in the 90s. It's the most GenX thing I've seen on TV in 20 years.
posted by fshgrl at 12:50 PM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

the actors are doing more with "tween pyromaniac" and "Black zen samurai" than they were handed.

So probably the neatest part of this show is that everyone is an unreliable narrator narrating their own post apocalyptic movie. Josh is in a bland white boy teen movie because, well- he's Canadian, so thats what you see when he's the narrator complete with stereotypical sidekicks. Those "sidekick" characters each gets an episode from their POV as do others and you realise just how unreliable the earlier narration was each time that happens. All the off notes and conflicting versions of events culminate in a pretty good ending.

It also took me way too fucking long to realise that while I was watching it and now I need to watch some parts again
posted by fshgrl at 3:50 PM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]

Maybe I'll give it another go - I watched the first episode and part of the second, but, the humor just wasn't working for me.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:09 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Episode 3 is where it changes but I'm not sure the humor changes that much. It's still completely ridiculous. But it gets a lot weirder and more intricate and you end up admiring their commitment to making it so intricately ridiculous.
posted by fshgrl at 5:01 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

One of the things I really enjoyed were the musical cues. That cover of "I want it that way" and the techno hava fun.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:04 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Side note: I really want to make a cheermazon's skirt. I love those skirts.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:39 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really loved this one and it completely subverted my expectations.

I liked how the world of this series strikes an impossible balance between cartoonish satire and being so utterly believable.

I loved the POV changes, especially when the characters took over POV from Josh by literally saying, enough, it's my story now, and then we'd get to see how quickly the story would change or deepen. I liked the different techniques for switching up the narrative. I liked the running gag of the doomed golf team. I liked how the Cheermazons weren't mean girls after all. I liked how Turbo's gilded embellishments to his armor was just a bunch of trophy figures welded together.

Thinking back, I really liked how Sam's sunflowers started as a lesson, then a message, then a metaphor, then a beacon, and then actual battle armor.

And I really loved all the references, especially the visual ones that they'd just sneak in for the fun of it. I couldn't keep up! Sometimes they were random (Eli's Maxell Blown Away Guy!) and sometimes they were weirdly thematic (like when Sam strikes a pose like the beauty queen on the cover of Hole's Live Through This).

I'm still laughing about naming a band Girlfriends In A Coma. Miss Crumble is amazing.

And yes! Those cheermazon skirts were exquisite! I want one in every color!
posted by mochapickle at 10:39 PM on October 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

Finished this last night, and given my record from wandering away from stuff that's kind of amazing. I'm still only about 75% satisfied with it, but it kept me watching by making me interested in the characters and curious how it was going to turn out.

Which is I guess a big part of my dissatisfaction with how it turned out. Having Sam Dean turn out to be someone who desires power, okay, I guess? i'm not sure I think it's earned, and it seems somewhat inconsistent with her earlier stated dissatisfaction with her new viral video notoriety, but time has gone by and certainly half a year of post-apocalypse living changes a person.

Though I still haven't figured out how that timeline adds up. Turbo and gang are at the school and Sam is purportedly a prisoner, but since when? Wesley seemingly didn't know she was held by the jocks, so presumably she wasn't being held by them a few months prior. So where was she for however long? Is this left deliberately vague for the sake of possible future seasons? Just this way because she's largely a MacGuffin for Josh et all anyway? I don't have a lot of problem with that but it contributed to my feeling like the wrap-up just sorta fell from the sky.
posted by phearlez at 2:05 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Despite Sam's popularity, we don't really see much of her pre apocalypse except through Josh's eyes. And we already know that Josh isn't the most reliable narrator in when it comes to Sam. So it shouldn't be entirely surprising that Sam isn't the person Josh thinks she is. With Sam now a major player, we will probably get at least one if not more POV episodes from her which should make her transformation more understandable.

But keep in mind it took an entire season to explain Burr's transformation into Triumph. So maybe s 2 is about Sam's.

I'm more curious about Mona Lisa. I really enjoy her character, but I don't understand why she embraces the role of supporting a leader instead of trying to become one herself.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:23 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can certainly see the Sam isn't who we were told she was angle but piled on top of the other questions, and accompanied by the group of people seemingly surprised by the turn - not just Josh - it felt odd to me.

It's not supported by the narrative in any way but I find someone like Mona Lisa totally understandable. From everything we see she calls the shots in most any way that counts. Turbo has occasional outbursts and ancillary nonsense interests like American Idol+Sudden Death, but in exchange he's the face of leadership and the target of assassination attempts, not her. When he gets too far out she goes along with deposing him. We don't see her continuing to be a decision maker after Burr takes over, though, which hamstrings this possible interpretation.
posted by phearlez at 11:58 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

But Mona Lisa immediately backs Sam, which makes think that there is was another plan in place. Burr may have only been a means to an end.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:56 PM on November 5, 2019

I think Sam puts the manic in Manic Pixie Dream Girl throughout but its subtle because our narrators are her lovers or misfits.

The first thing I noticed about her is that she had no friends. How often is the most popular girl in school alone? Never, ergo its not true that she is the most popular. The guys keep saying she's popular but does a female peer ever say anything nice about her? Is she in the Cheermazons?

She is an intelligent and an idealist but she's also unpredictable, self-absorbed, promiscuous, a thrill seeker and has few or no close friends or relationships. Instead she detachedly observes and manipulates people. She latches onto Josh right away, which seems odd, but then you learn he's just one in a long line of short term relationships and it sours quickly. The pizza delivery guy thinks she's nuts. She appears to be sailing through life on her looks and charisma but shes not-so-secretly deeply unhappy and unstable. Like Turbo.

Mona Lisa I think respects power but not chaos. She wants order. It'll be interesting to see that relationship evolve and go bad.
posted by fshgrl at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

In the Slimer POV episode, Angelica says that she is the most popular girl in school second only to Sam.

Now obviously relying on Angelica's perception is deeply problematic for a lot of reasons, but at least one female character does acknowledge she's popular.

However, when Sam talks about the comments on her video, they are all negative.

It will be interesting to see what the next season reveals about her. But I am definitely hoping for more Mona Lisa. She's my favorite by far. (Followed by the Cheermazons.)
posted by miss-lapin at 1:12 AM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

So probably the neatest part of this show is that everyone is an unreliable narrator narrating their own post apocalyptic movie.

Yes, I loved that element of the show.

It's the most GenX thing I've seen on TV in 20 years.

I feel like a lot of the "GenX-ness" of this is because it draws on a similar vein of dark absurd humor as Heathers or Repo Man, and is sort of the dark mirror of John Hughes films - very much including the element of the kids discovering/realizing that the adults that they are trusting to or assuming will guide them into adulthood are just as screwed up as the kids themselves, if not actively hostile or indifferent.

Broderick is basically playing a Mad Max version of his character from Election, and clearly having a gas of a time.

I dunno what Krysta Anne Rodriguez is doing as Ms. Crumble but I love it.

Sam's heel turn at the end worked dramatically, at least in the moment, but on further consideration I think there's the real possibility of a disturbing sub-text, and whether that sub-text becomes confirmed depends on how they approach the character in further seasons (if there are any, it has not been officially renewed yet.)

By which I mean - was Sam's grab for power a "carpe diem" thing, or was it the result of long-term planning? If it was a carpe diem moment, a sudden realization that there was a power vacuum to be filled, and if the urge to fill that vacuum was a result of her post-apocalypse experiences . . . well, OK, cool, it's another facet of a complex character.

But if it was a long-term plan, then . . . well, then now the character could be easily read as filling the standard sexist trope of women as manipulative underhanded plotters. Which puts the lie to one of the major themes of the whole series, about how people - teenagers especially, and especially non-white and/or non-male and/or non-straight teenagers - are continually being forced into boxes of social and cultural expectations and struggling to free themselves or figure out how to define themselves in relationship to these expectations. If Sam has been plotting this entire time, then everything she said about her struggles with coming to terms with her viral video popularity, about how Josh broke up with her because of his patriarchal double-standards of sexuality, about how Josh was treating her first as a fantasy romantic character trope and then a damsel-in-distress-trope and not a real-life person (all excellent points that tie in to the journeys of other characters like Angelica, Wesley, and Eli, and even Turbo) - it's all bullshit. She meant none of that, it was all manipulative lies as part of a plot to rise to power. If that's what the writers intend, then they took an interesting character expressing complex ambivalence about fitting into modern society and turned the show into a soap opera about a catty sneaky bitch and thereby validate and reinforce the sexist cliches about how women are inherently untrustworthy.

IOW: unpredictable, self-absorbed, [. . .] a thrill seeker - these are not necessarily negative character traits, or proof of her being some kind of sociopath, just facets of her being a teenager.

promiscuous - Sorry, there's no way to read calling her "promiscuous" as anything besides slut-shaming, expressing the same morally judgmental narrow-mindedness as Josh. Note that we very specifically and intentionally never get any sort of real idea of how many people she's had sexual relations with, just that she's not a virgin.

few or no close friends or relationships. Given all the unreliable narration going on (and a certain level of time constraints), I don't think we really have much trustworthy evidence of that one way or the other.

Instead she detachedly observes and manipulates people. My general point being that this has yet to be proven.

She latches onto Josh right away - Didn't Principal Burr specifically instruct Sam to show New Boy Josh around? And latching on to the New Boy who doesn't fit in to any of the existing high school cliques doesn't seem to me like much of a power move anyway. Why latch onto a nobody?
posted by soundguy99 at 11:27 PM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Burr summons Sam to his office. She tells Josh (and later confronts Burr) with being a "human sorting hat" for new students. So that can't be put on her.

However, Sam uses Josh to film her compliment video. She doesn't use the video to introduce him to the student body (although she easily could). She just has him stand there and film. He then uploads the film onto social media because she doesn't use it.

So manipulating the new kid isn't an overt power move, but having Josh post the "thirst" video absolves her trying to glorify herself. Much like Burr's manipulation of Hoynes, she's uses Josh to get a lot of things she wants while appearing to be virtuous (popular girl helping out both the principal and the new kid). And keeping him isolated certainly doesn't help him. It's once Sam is out of the picture (and there's an apocalypse) that Josh is able to form meaningful relationships with other teens.

I don't think her rise to power as the new Turbo is her playing the long game. However, Mona Lisa's backing her indicates that there was at least SOME planning.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:26 AM on November 7, 2019

So manipulating the new kid isn't an overt power move, but having Josh post the "thirst" video absolves her trying to glorify herself.

Hmmmmmmmm. Possibly, possibly . . .

And keeping him isolated certainly doesn't help him.

Eh . . . *hand-waggling motion* I think it's still a pretty open question how responsible Sam is for Josh's isolation - I mean, new kid from another country and a different culture than whiz-bang LA, plus fresh from a divorce with an absent Mom (another very GenX thing about this show, Josh is totally a latchkey kid.) It's totally plausible that he was gonna be a loner to start with, Sam or not, and then when this pretty, intelligent, non-clique-y girl starts hanging around with him he latches on to her as his Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which is a thing he's been primed to do by social/cultural messaging.

It's once Sam is out of the picture (and there's an apocalypse) that Josh is able to form meaningful relationships with other teens.

Yah but he basically gets dragged kicking and screaming into relationships by Wesley and Angelica. In the beginning he is (according to him) entirely copacetic bopping around post-apocalypse LA unaffiliated with any gangs, doing his "lonely man on a mission" thing searching for Sam. Which I think supports the idea that Josh's isolation has causes besides Sam.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I dont think Sam necessarily plotted. I think she likes being in control and took the oportunity to grab power. The fact she phrased it as "these are my people, they need me" is because Sam's disaster movie has her as the beautiful and beloved queen. She genuinely does believe she's a bit smarter and more special than everyone else while simultaneously being very insecure and needing external approval. Its extremely realistic for an intelligent and very attractive teenager who struggles to connect with people to act that way and have those fantasies. I think her character is brilliantly conceived and acted but a bit unevenly presented.

promiscuous - Sorry, there's no way to read calling her "promiscuous" as anything besides slut-shaming,

I went for the clinical term, I couldn't think of another way to put it that didn't sound worse. Josh snooped her app.

It's great to see all these new shows with female characters who are complex and interesting and not just Good or Evil, like Sally from Barry or Sam and Mona Lisa
posted by fshgrl at 6:43 PM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh I don't think Sam is completely responsible for Josh's isolation, but I do think she exploits it. Which I don't think makes her a bad person at all. As for promiscuous, yeah that's slut shamey. She's sex positive. And why the hell not? You go get that, girl.

As for Josh being a latch-key kid, one of the things I like about the show is parents are almost entirely absent from all of the character's lives. We see exactly 2 parents-Turbo's dad and Josh's dad. And both of those fathers have willingly absented themselves from their son's lives before the apocalypse. These kids were already dealing with a landscape of absent adults. It's probably one of the most realistic parts of the show. That getting on without parents wouldn't be that difficult because these kids already know how to do that.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:36 AM on November 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I think Sam could easily go either way if we get a Season 2: it would be easy to make her the Big Bad; on the other hand, it would also be utterly believable for her to be the reluctant emperor who saw a power vacuum and knew that someone had to occupy it. Josh had -- in that very episode -- declared that he was no leader and didn't want to be. Mona Lisa clearly wants to be the right hand of the leader; Wesley also wants to serve good but won't lead (and that is... kind of troubling, as I think of it: the two Black students in the main cast are essentially servants). Turbo ceded his leadership position. Angelica clearly doesn't have the skills for it. Who's left? Mrs. Crumble?
posted by Etrigan at 3:09 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well...there could always be a vote? With the destruction of Triumph and the fall of Turbo plus the integration of new groups/members, take a day and figure out 1 positions that are required 2the terms and responsibilities of those positions. Inform the group about these positions and an election. Let people run. Have a vote.

With the death of Triumph, there's really no reason to rush the process. They could even design a triumvirate to lead like the Cheermazons.

There's gotta be one teen who watched MP and the Holy Grail who will suggest an anarcho syndicalist commune.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:14 AM on November 11, 2019

the two Black students in the main cast are essentially servants

While this is true, 2 of the three women who lead the Cheermazons are women of color. Hopefully they will play a larger role in the upcoming season because they seem pretty damn awesome.

posted by miss-lapin at 6:17 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Loved the show, disliked the last episode. I agree with those who feel like Sam's twist felt as forced as the ridiculous missile timebomb -- and I say this as someone who was quite on board with all the ridiculous elements prior to that, and thought that the POV shifts were quite entertaining and a good way to keep the characters surprising. As in Rashomon, we actually almost never see the "real" Sam, only Sam as filtered through Josh or her own POV episode, and even then, in many of their scenes together I would characterize her as being pretty mean to him (and him as being a sexist jerk; as with Rashomon, the truth is often closest to the union of the worst versions of each story). So I think the groundwork was somewhat laid for her transformation, and I expect that if the show continues with this format and this character twist, they will go back and revisit the past via more Rashomonic triangulation to give us a better sense of who "Sam Dean" really is.

Which is all to say, I think I understand what they are trying to do and am sympathetic to it -- but unlike episodes 7-9, which I often found quite moving as well as entertaining, I think they didn't quite manage it with Sam. Even if it makes sense ultimately, more groundwork was needed to make the revelation/twist moving and meaningful instead of just a plot development that, on its own, was really not as interesting as so much else in this world. But the writers seem to be fairly good at walking this tightrope and have established a good mechanism for revising and building from their mistakes, so I look forward to a second season if it comes, even if the bio/nuke stuff itself was a bit disappointing. At the very least, hopefully sub mom will eventually appear and open things out into the wider world. And in the meantime, I'm pretty happy with Morrissey duets between psycho child geniuses and recovering magic zombie women.
posted by chortly at 11:43 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Or Sam's hilarious queen's wave on the couch, that is echoed in Burr's zombie arm's dying flail, and then becomes that delicate little half-shrug gesture she does in the final two seconds of the show. Art!
posted by chortly at 11:51 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just finished the first season. I enjoyed it. One thing I was disappointed by was how easily the gamer group was taken out. They were communicating with people all around the world. I hope that gets returned to in some way if season two comes around.

Regarding Sam, one thing to remember regarding her final line about how they were her people, she was elected homecoming queen. Whatever happened post-apocalypse, she learned to embrace it?
posted by Fukiyama at 6:32 PM on November 22, 2019

Interesting article. And there is a tie-in in-universe podcast? If anyone out there is familiar with navigating Spotify and can figure out if there is an associated transcript of the podcast for deaf/hard of hearing, please memail me.
posted by Fukiyama at 6:05 PM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I couldn't find any supporting material for the podcast yet, not even a website. But this article says it's a 6-part audio drama, and when the last episode is released on December 7 it will become available on other platforms. So maybe a transcript would be made then?
posted by harriet vane at 7:05 AM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is one I would have liked an episode-by-episode thread here, but that's the problem with Netflix releasing a season at once. I enjoyed this season and all the weird things it was willing to do, as they mostly all worked (or at least, didn't fall flat). Hopefully next season will flesh out Sam, Mona Lisa, and KJ a bit...

One thing I'm worried about for Season 2 is that Broderick was the heart and soul of this show, and it will suffer with less of him around. Desperta Ferro!
posted by miguelcervantes at 7:13 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

. . . aaaand it's canceled, reminding us once again of the foolishness of enjoying a Netflix show too much.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:05 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ah, that's a bummer. Literally just finished watching the last episode, found the whole thing loopy and enjoyable and came here to chat about it.
posted by gaspode at 5:45 PM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

How can they cancel it? IT WAS SO GREAT.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:25 AM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

In light of certain events, I reaaaaaaaaaaly wish they would do a s2 of this. I need cheermazons in my life.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:21 AM on August 26, 2020

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