Almost every element in Netflix’s Dash & Lily will give you Déjà vu. That is how replaceable the plot is. Vibrant use of colours and Christmas don’t work for long as well.
Set in New York City, Dash & Lily is set around two teenagers who have a starkly different idea of what Christmas means. While Lily looks forward to it, Dash detests it.
When Dash accidentally stumbles upon a notebook planted in a bookstore by Lily, begins a scavenger hunt cum dare of sorts. Both these characters are shown to be bookworms and as people who don’t fit the crowd.
Accompanied by some friends, family, loneliness, childhood traumas, personal issues and the Christmas spirit of NYC, these two try to make the holidays better for themselves and eventually fall in love.
Through the use of a notebook, the series tries to showcase how love can still remain old school, even when the issues of teenagers today aren’t. The series bases a lot of emphasis on fate.
Dash & Lily is a book-to-series adaptation of Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.
Midori Frances plays Lily and Austin Abrams plays Dash. At first, Abrams doesn’t seem very well suited. It is possible that his character demanded the reluctance that he portrays, given how frequently he switches back and forth between being shy and excessive.
Frances in her portrayal of Lily manages to catch hold of viewers’ attention. Her timid, shy yet cheerful character comes to life whenever she is on screen. Unlike Abrams, her performance is more in sync with her character.
There are some supporting characters like Lily’s brother Langston played by Troy Iwata, and Boomer played by Dante Brown. Both of them bring a very different quirk to the series.
It can’t be denied that Dash & Lily does bring out the Christmas cheer. Even if that happens in the most expected way possible, like every year Netflix delivers what it promises.
Since Dash and Lily are bookworms, references to novels and book series are abundantly used throughout the series, be it the dares or otherwise.
Ethnicity and inclusivity is also promoted in its own peculiar way. Since Lily’s half Japanese, there are many instances where that culture is beautifully explored.
Langston plays a homosexual man and is role is not just restricted to being present. This also promotes inclusivity in terms of writing. Most importantly, all these narratives are subtly used as opposed to everything else in the story.
Even if one reads the plot of the film, it will ring a bell. It will resonate with every romantic comedy they ever saw, especially it was based around Christmas.
Dash & Lily could easily have been a film. There was absolutely no need for it to be stretched into an eight-episode series. The first two episodes only contained the introduction of these characters.
The film is too capitalistic for its own good. There’s no relatability quotient for any teenager. With affluent families, teens using expensive smartphones, their families either leaving them be to bask in the glory of their wealth or being comfortable talking about their partners, none of it seems relatable.
And despite the above mentioned details, the plot expects viewers to feel sorry about the protagonists because someone either didn’t accept Lily’s friendship bands in middle school or because Dash’s girlfriend moved to Brazil.
With the entire world under the grab of 2020 and forced to stay indoors, Dash & Lily might be a good break. Besides, it does bring the Christmas spirit around.
But in a much real sense, it wouldn’t make a difference if this one is skipped.