I’m watching a terrible Netflix series at the moment called Virgin River. There are a lot of terrible Netflix series to choose from, and this one doesn’t disappoint in its awfulness. Why am I watching it? To fill in gaps of time when I’m not doing anything, and can’t be arsed working my brain with a more worthy pursuit, like reading. Yeah, a shite excuse for wasting time – although, having said that, I’ve come to consider ‘wasting time’ a worthy pursuit now, too. But more on that later.
Virgin River is based on a book series by Robyn Carr. Yes, there’s more than one book – around twenty, I believe, which feels a tad scary. The two main characters are a young woman with demons, Mel; and a forty-year-old man, Jack, also with demons. Both are trying to escape their demons in Virgin River. Mel looks at least ten years younger than Jack. She might be older than she appears, but if so, she has definitely used better anti-aging night cream than Jack. The rest of the characters are a motley crew of small-town residents, with American-style pearly whites and good hairdressers. I’ve watched four episodes so far, and only spotted one non-white character, which for all I know might be the norm for a small mountain town in southern California.
Jack’s demons are badder than Mel’s. Mel’s demons are the stillbirth of her baby, and then the death of her perfect husband. Jack’s demons are war and sex. Jack likes Mel as soon as he sees her, and sets out to woo her, putting aside the small matter that he has been shagging a very nice woman for the last year. But it’s just sex, and he explained that to her when they embarked on their sex-only relationship, so he’s free to pursue other women while he’s still shagging her. Now, Jack knows how to pick ‘em, because the woman he’s shagging is no free-spirit “I’ll shag anyone I want, as well” type, but a lovely Marriage Material type of woman, who’s heart he is going to break.
Eventually, Mel begins to like Jack back. That’s in spite of meeting his very nice shag-partner, and being told that she doesn’t mean anything; in spite of Jack getting a bit stalky and creepy on her – otherwise known as romancing her in classic man-as-hunter style. I don’t know who ever thought that that was a good style for romancing – I suspect it was Hollywood male screen-writers. Where they themselves got the idea from could be a long story.
Jack owns and runs the only boozer in town, along with the token black man, by the name of Preacher. I haven’t worked out yet if Preacher is a partner in the boozer, or where his name came from. I think he and Jack have war history in Iraq, so there might be a story there yet to be told. Preacher seems a lot nicer and a lot more shaggable than Jack, so I reckon Mel is on the wrong track with Jack. However, Jack won’t leave Mel alone, and his persistence is paying off in good ol’ fairy tale fashion.
Funny how we seldom do romance scripts of nice man and bad girl. Especially a girl who has hard-hearted and meaningless sex with a nice man who is Marriage Material, until someone more interesting comes along. The reason for that could also be a long story.
The other reasons I began watching this series is because Netflix kept pestering me with it, and Jack is played by Kiwi-born actor Martin Henderson. I got mildly interested enough, after Netflix’s persistent pestering (see a pattern here?), to see how Martin was shaping up these days, after seeing him as a young man in a Kiwi soap. Martin has had several parts in movies and series since he left NZ, according to Wikipedia but I hadn’t seen any of those.
Do watch this series. Just for the open-mouth wonderment of watching the sort of stereotypical crap that you thought would now be gathering dust on the shelf. In a twisted kind of way, I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series. Some kinds of awfulness can be so compelling! I’m not going to talk about the damage these dark and dastardly plots can do to our female and male psyches, because we all know about that, and can guard against it – can’t we?