‘High Fidelity’ goes beyond typical storyline to satisfy music lovers
February 26, 2020
At first glance, “High Fidelity” might not make you want to press play. Admittedly, it looks like the stereotypical romantic comedy that’s trying just a little too hard. You know, the one about the annoyingly pretty girl with a terrible love life who smokes cigarettes and lives in an unrealistically big apartment in New York City. Of course, she has no roommates, and yet somehow she makes a living owning her own record shop. “Sex in the City,” “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother” all have he same trope, and a pretty tiring one at that. Can they at least pick a different city? Even the wardrobe was irritating, it’s essentially how every indie girl ever dreams of dressing, but none of us will ever pull it off as well as Zoe Kravitz does.
With all that being said, hit the play button anyways because there is more beyond the surface.
Hulu’s original series “High Fidelity” is a music lover’s dream. This show is everything I never expected and more. The soundtrack is the best of any show, and that is not said lightly, as it includes legends like David Bowie, Prince and the Beastie Boys. Even the biggest music fanatics may find their ego a little bruised because of how amazing the soundtrack is. You may feel impressed by how the show is able to feature songs that even the biggest music fans wouldn’t expect. Even more, it’s not just the soundtrack that makes it a dream, it’s how the characters value music.
The three main characters Rob, Simon and Cherise have deep and meaningful conversations about music throughout the show. The whole second episode is dedicated to the art of making a playlist. The trio of friends have a debate about whether or not they can listen to artists who are controversial figures. Such as if they can sell a Michael Jackson record with integrity. These people have strong morals about their music. At one point, Rob even refused to buy a rare, wildly under priced record collection, for the simple reason that she knew were worth so much more.
The thing that makes the show stick with you is the “top five” game. When the show begins, we see main character Rob talk about her top five worst heartbreaks. Since this is in the first episode, the audience can just assume it’s setting up the show and giving us some background. But as you watch more, you realize it’s a game the group plays and it’s a big part of their dynamic. Throughout the show the circle of friends ask each other “top five villains” or “top five songs about love” as well as many top five lists. It almost makes you think “why did I never think of that game?” It’s such a fun aspect of the show and it’s something that you can’t attribute to anything else.
Unbeknownst to audience members, the “High Fidelity” franchise has been around since the book was published in 1995. After being published, the novel was adapted into a film in 2000, starring John Cusack and Lisa Bonet. The fun part about this, is that though there are many Easter eggs in the 2020 adaptation, the most notable of all is that the main character Rob is gender swapped and played by Bonet’s daughter, Zoe Kravitz.
Not everyone is too keen on the “fourth wall break” method when it comes to film and TV, but for this series it makes sense. In other shows it’s not always done right and feels strange to watch, but it worked in “High Fidelity.”
Sometimes this trick will make you laugh out loud and make the audience feel like they’re included in the leading lady’s inner circle. It also added to how the show is set up using a unique narrative.
It’s not just a typical TV show format, it’s more structured than that. Each episode an elegant sequence that shows us not only the undoing of Rob’s worst heartbreak, but the reason why she is the way she is. The sweetest part about the show is the detailed way Rob tells her story, and the fact that the audience is not watching this character from the outside, but going on her journey of self discovery with her.
“High Fidelity” is now available for streaming on Hulu.