Nine Perfect Strangers: Season 1
August 23, 2021 6:40 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Nine stressed city dwellers visit a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation. The resort's director is a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.
posted by Pong74LS (29 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The first three episodes were released on August 18th. The remaining three premiere August 25, September 1st and 8th.
posted by Pong74LS at 6:47 PM on August 23, 2021

Fair's fair. But I am enjoying it so far. I particularly like Melissa McCarthy and Michael Shannon in it. He's a decent sweet guy, but he is just a huge dork and it's driven his wife out of her mind.

Here's what I did not like. At one commercial break, the show immediately cut to a Hello Fresh commercial where a couple of ladies were sitting over a kitchen counter, chatting: "So, Frances and Tony! ..." I literally started yelling at the TV about how I did not APPRECIATE them trying to sit there and act like podcast fake friends or something. Just pitch your meal program and get out, brand.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:02 PM on August 23, 2021

I have only seen the first three episodes and it's enjoyable but, I have to say, it doesn't seem like a great resort? Or even a well run cult.

Like, if I pay big bucks for the 10 day super amazing spa retreat and they had me doing trust falls like I was at a third rate corporate team building event? That's not inspiring confidence.

Of course, by day 3 they're all microdosing acid (?) and getting into full blown goat murder, so...maybe it is an effective cult?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:32 PM on August 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

My comment from MetaTalk:
So I requested Nine Perfect Strangers be added to Fanfare after I watched two of the first three episodes - suspenseful and relatively entertaining (poorly reviewed) Netflix fluff with Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Manny Jacinto, Regina King, Nicole Kidman and more people you probably know. But then I watched the third episode and a thing happened that was so stupid and gratuitous and unnecessarily terrible that I no longer wish to post about it. Or maybe I should post about it anyway and argue and/or commiserate with people about the upsetting thing that happens which I am trying not to spoil in case you want to watch it. : /

I will say Samara Weaving was unexpectedly excellent. I say unexpectedly because she plays a gorgeous Instagram star and I admit to you all I wrongly judged her out of the gate by her looks. I don't think it's giving too much away to say, and you probably will not be shocked to hear, that this also happens to her character on the show.

I realize they have been drugged but acting like they are practically starving to death after a few hours in the woods is just stupid, and then gratuitous goat murder was complete bullshit. And none of the characters seem to mind too much. Bad, stupid writing.
posted by Glinn at 7:13 AM on August 24, 2021

I'm really enjoying the show and seeing how characters thwart expectation like the grieving mother deciding to skinny dip and start talking frankly about sex. I'm very curious to see how these characters unwind particularly the Marconi family.

And I will watching anything with Samara Weaving. Anything. She's a frickin' gem. But the conversation about "wet" at the beginning of ep 3....oh my.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:21 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's Hulu fluff, not Netflix fluff, just so no one looks for it there.
posted by Clustercuss at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2021

I’m really enjoying this so far though I get what reviewers are saying. I’ll watch Nicole Kidman doing her weird eye twitching complicated woman thing any day of the week, and I think she’s great in this.

I don’t think the goat killing was gratuitous, necessarily. Like yes I often skip breakfast and wouldn’t kill a goat over a one day smoothie fast, but these are very wealthy entitled people and that’s kind of the point. Any discomfort freaks our characters out to different degrees, and the show is like a pressure cooker of rising discomfort. (What I found less believable is that anyone on the staff was knowledgeable enough about butchering to skin and prepare said goat.)
posted by nancynickerson at 1:34 PM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

I don’t think the goat killing was gratuitous, necessarily. Like yes I often skip breakfast and wouldn’t kill a goat over a one day smoothie fast, but these are very wealthy entitled people and that’s kind of the point.

...and they're all high on some unspecified drug. Probably specific drugs for each of them, since they're not allowed to share their smoothies that have been 'specially formulated' for each of them.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:55 PM on August 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah I think this is less about hunger and more about various suppressed issues combined with the unknown drug protocol.

Also I really want to go to this place. Just the actual places like the pool and arbortoreum. So beautiful.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:48 AM on August 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Also I really want to go to this place. Just the actual places like the pool and arbortoreum. So beautiful.

I could drive there in 20 minutes (except I can't because we are not allowed to leave our local government area to appease a fancy). The resort is Soma and the arboretum is a specialty timber plantation nearby.

It hasn't come up yet, but there is a part in the show where we see Masha in Russia, signified by lots of snow. It was filmed nearby my workplace in sub-tropical NSW. There was pretend snow along my drive home for days until one morning it and the pantecs were gone with no hint they'd been there. I'm looking forward to a particular snowy transport scene knowing that just after the rise in the road, the location drops away to surf beaches and the South Pacific Ocean.
posted by Thella at 10:26 PM on August 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Whoa thanks for sharing Thella. I'll definitely stick around for that.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:22 PM on August 28, 2021

I really like this so far. All the acting is spectacular, and I am actually much more interested in their backstories than whatever weirdness comes from the retreat. So many of my favorite actresses & actors, I'm happy to watch them dive deep into their characters.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:52 AM on September 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

Michael Shannon has a voice!
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:14 PM on September 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

He's so adorable doing those Dad musical numbers.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:51 AM on September 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm looking forward to a particular snowy transport scene knowing that just after the rise in the road, the location drops away to surf beaches and the South Pacific Ocean.

As a denizen of these parts, I am absolutely adoring just how subtly Australian the landscape is. This must be how Canadians feel watching yet another show set in "New York" or "Oregon"
posted by coriolisdave at 3:24 PM on September 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

I find Michael Shannon's 'usual' roles a bit too angry, bleak, etc and I really liked his opening birthday serenade in the new episode. Luke Evans work was also strong.
posted by biffa at 11:51 AM on September 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Such a good episode! (5)
posted by ellieBOA at 8:42 AM on September 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wow, Thella, thanks for the local’s eye view of the production! I was wondering where the heck that was filmed and now that I know it’s a real place, I’m wishing I could go there. It’s beautiful.

I am enjoying this. I read the book right before the pandemic, so my memory of it is slightly hazy, though I remember most of the first half pretty well. I actually think this is a case where the screen adaptation is better than the source material. I remember the book well enough to notice some of the changes, and so far I feel like they’ve made good choices.

I love the relationship between Frances and Tony; it’s just so genuine and sweet. Plus I think each of them inhabits their character so thoroughly. I also have a soft spot for poor Carmel…she’s got to work through some things yet, but she’s starting on it. But yikes that fork in the table!! Gosh Regina Hall is good—she’s so wounded yet terrifying when she goes in one of her rages. But who gets through to her? Snarky old Lars! When he gives her a pep talk, that is a lovely moment.

I’m looking forward to the next episode. Getting it slow drip is a bit torturous—I’m sure I’d binge it if I had the chance—but it does work well for the suspense.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:40 AM on September 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

In terms of the Lars/Carmel and Frances/Tony healing pairings, those who were the most antagonistic towards each other are now helpful and supportive. While it's sweet, it's also a testament to how forced intimacy works. Characters who were quick to judge and shut down others struggling (as both Lars and Lars do initially) soften and are able empathize with those they hurt in a way that they wouldn't if they didn't all spend time together.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:05 PM on September 6, 2021

The moment from this week with Tony and the pool. I could so see myself doing that. That moment really got me.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:00 AM on September 9, 2021

The scene in Ep. 7 where Frances is talking to Masha and the camera is swaying around her in random ways was very disconcerting and I can't imagine it was easy to shoot. Like the concentration Melissa McCarthy would have had to summon up to play out that already intense scene while a camera operator is in her face and dancing around had to be pretty significant.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:58 AM on September 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I finished last night..... Can someone explain Carmel and the eye to me? So Did Carmel really have a cataract and she wore a contact lens to cover usually? Did she wear a contact lens when she shot Masha and then put it back on at the resort? Did she wear a contact lens when she shot Masha and then Masha hallucinated she saw the cataract again when she recognized Carmel? Was there never a cataract and Masha just remembered it that way and then hallucinated it again when she recognized Carmel?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:04 AM on September 24, 2021

I think she wore the lens as part of her disguise- it doesn’t make sense that you’d put on a whole disguise and then *not* cover up your most identifiable feature. She probably brought the contacts to the resort for her inevitable showdown.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:43 AM on September 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

At first I thought the cataract was real and she was wearing a contact lens at the resort to cover it, but then I realized she had created a disguise when we got a closer look at who had shot Masha--she had also applied a beard to her face. Then she says in the final episode that at one time she had been quite a good makeup artist, so then I figured that like the beard, the cataract had been part of the disguise--a contact lens. Which of course she brought with her to the resort so she could pop it in and freak Masha out.

I have a question: when Frances is at dinner with Tony, and she borrows paper and pen from the server, are all the endings we see after that (eg Lars and Ray with their new baby, Jessica and Ben having taken over Tranquillum, herself and Tony as an established couple) part of what she writes for them? Or is that what really happens? I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be real or just in her writerly imagination. Well, I thought it was supposed to be her imagination until I saw the copy of Frances' book (Nine Strangers) on the dashboard of the yellow Lamborghini (did Ben and Jessica just give her their car? I guess maybe in exchange for Tranquillum?), and then I was like, wait, but is Masha really just driving off free as a bird, hallucinating her daughter in the passenger seat??? I am confused. Then again, it didn't look like any of the Tranquillum guests really gave the police much to go on...

I don't know. The ending was a bit of a train wreck, for me, like the book. But I did enjoy the ride to get there!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:06 PM on September 25, 2021

I think the ending is intentionally ambiguous. My take is that based on her experience Frances starts writing what happened and then imagines endings for all of them. Since she's a romance writer, it makes sense that almost everyone ends up in fulfilling romantic relationships.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:39 PM on September 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have a question

This afternoon, as I was driving the exact same section of road that you see in the last scene (in which you can't see the suburban houses directly to the right) I was thinking about Masha, her daughter, Frances' book, Tony hanging out with his kids, the staff couple working together elsewhere for a good cause, Ben and Jessica getting what they want (customer-service and boss roles), the Lamborghini... and I wondered if the whole thing was a book by Frances. Then I thought about Masha and this next stage in her life, tripping out to spend time with her hallucinated daughter, and the essential sadness of that. But I think the sign that the happy endings might be real (as real as can be in a work of fiction) is that Tony is still sitting at the dining table after Frances has been writing for hours, and he's not angry. He's relaxed. If he's in a good way, then maybe all the rest is 'real' too. Ha! Good show.
posted by Thella at 10:49 PM on September 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Loved the performances, infuriated by the ending. The moral of the story is that Nicole Kidman's ludicrous drugged up therapy regime is a great idea and we should have more of that in the world? I wanted people to go to jail.
posted by simonw at 11:05 PM on September 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

I feel like for most of the attendees we're to understand that the real therapeutic benefit was not from the drugs but from the "near death experience." But also, I'm not thrilled to see someone driving while on hallucinogens and that presented as a good thing.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:18 AM on September 30, 2021

I think Tranquillum works on more levels than just the near death experience. The removal of cellphones pushes them past barriers and judgements and communicate with those around them, but it also is the beginning of confronting the issues they want to run away from. All of the characters were trying to run away from various things. The drugs also helped them with that (for example Lars and his issue with having a child). Once those things are processed, the near death experience helps them realize what they really want now that the issue has been resolved. It's a two part process.

Think what those characters would have said they wanted when they first walked into Tranquillum. It would have been very different than what they said after their experiences there.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:32 PM on October 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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