So Netflix canceled the brilliant and funny “Teenage Bounty Hunters” after just one season.
That’s both sad and entirely predictable given the show likely angered people on both sides of the political aisle.
The Netflix series follows twin sisters who become bounty hunters and track down various “skips” while navigating high school politics and their demanding parents.
Not since “The X-Files” has there been a show so perfectly balanced between “criminal of the week” stories and deeper tales involving the parents, school chums and mentor Bowser Jenkins (brilliantly funny Kadeem Hardison).
The “Different World” alum has real chemistry with the sisters.
I loved the show for its willingness to be politically incorrect but also because it’s so darn funny. Like “Arrested Development,” the show brilliantly used both facial expressions and sight gags. This is high praise indeed, but “Teenage Bounty Hunters” is that good.
Major spoilers ahead, but hopefully it will get you to watch the show and maybe even save it.
Why The Left Hated ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’
- The two main characters, Blair Wesley (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and Sterling Wesley (Maddie Phillips), are extremely polite and use “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir” when addressing parents and elders. The deference seems both natural and normal and doesn’t clip the agency of the girls in any way. In fact, it’s refreshing.
- The black boyfriend Miles (Myles Evans) comes from a wealthy and powerful family (a place of privilege) and is deeply self occupied (read: selfish). He’s clearly using Blair for sex, and when Blair meets his parents it’s a reverse “Guess who’s coming to dinner” where Blair is seen as white trash. That a black teen would be portrayed as both powerful/wealthy and a jerk is deeply subversive in today’s political climate.
- The Christians in this show aren’t creepy. They struggle with their faith and are actively engaged in becoming better people.
- This show is ridiculously pro gun.
- Blair runs into a case of “woke” arrogance at a college party. She’s rejected because while her heart is in the right place she hasn’t read the right books or can speak the right phrases. She is shut down as a result, which is both chilling and spot on.
- The show has an interesting take on sexual fluidity (which I won’t spoil) but it doesn’t conform to the Left’s notion of sexuality. The show argues that self-repression is just as powerful, if not more so, than the repression by the systems (school, church) that the girls face.
- Blair and Sterling genuinely care for Bowser and hope to make his life better. It seems almost surreal to see black and white characters getting along on TV in this fashion.
Why The Right Hated ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’
- There will be much talk about HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” breaking racial barriers (and well deserved), but “Teenage Bounty Hunters” offered the most simple explanation of systemic racism on television. When Blair asks the skip why she’s been cutting the heads off Confederate statues she says, “I don’t want kids to come out of school every day and see this crap…” That’s a paraphrase, but the point is well made.
- Teenagers are going to have sex or, at the very least, be curious about it. Abstinence and “Sex is bad so save it ’til you’re married” positions are shown to be bankrupt strategies.
- White Privilege — how Blair and Sterling easily breeze into all kinds of places and situations that Bowser doesn’t have access to — is just brilliant in its subtleness.
- Racism seeping into politically correct forms. That the “Sisters of the Confederacy” are all men is both funny and genius… that they want to “get her” (“her” being the perpetrator of the statue beheadings) is endlessly funny.
- The show is not in your face about LGBTQ issues but it does have a “Q” and an “L” and handles both with care and respect. The series shows that sexuality can be confusing and weird, and that requires both compassion and space.
- The grandpa is the old guard progenitor of racism, he is the system in the systemic racism.
I get how a nuanced show wasn’t going to be appreciated, or accepted, in today’s climate. It’s still a shame to see “Teenage Bounty Hunters” canceled after just one season.
The show boasts great writing, a talented cast and themes that kept our attention. The cliffhanger at the end of Season 1 demands a resolution, if not an entire second season.
Make it happen, Amazon!
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