Ian Owens and Aidy Bryant in Shrill

Image: Courtesy Hulu

1. Aidy Bryant is a wonder in it. If there’s one reason to watch Shrill—beyond it being based on Lindy West’s excellent essay collection of the same name—it’s Bryant’s performance. She’s funny and charming, but also able to animate parts that could easily play as a didactic PSA with authentic emotional grace.

2. The show treats an abortion in the first episode with stunningly little melodrama. It happens, Annie learns something, and she moves on.

3. The setting was transposed to Portland for production reasons, but its slice-of-life vibe plays just as easily as Seattle.

4. In the translation to quick narratives, some of the book’s more beautiful nuances are flattened. Annie’s (Bryant’s character) fight with an online troll, in particular, becomes a boilerplate sitcom revenge plot—instead of following West’s artful, surprising essay.

5. Gabe—The Stranger’s (sorry, here it’s called The Weekly Thorn) editor in chief in the show—is a cartoon villain, like a cycling gay punk Cruella de Vil. It is, again, kind of a shame since that turns Annie’s fight over fat shaming with Gabe, based on the dueling Stranger posts that West and Dan Savage exchanged in 2011, again disappointingly flat, especially given West’s nuanced treatment of the fight in her book.

6. Her main flame on the show is essentially The Guy (Ben Sinclair’s weed dealing main character) from High Maintenance—and he’s rendered with frighteningly real and infuriating immaturity.

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