‘Betty’ is a series that seems to come out of almost nothing. What’s more, looking over the list of news from original HBO series in recent months, we may come across the first fiction of the platform itself that does not have a very powerful name behind it.
The “almost out of nowhere” is because it does come out of an existing material: ‘Skate Kitchen’ independent film by Crystal Moselle (‘The Wolfpack’) which premiered at the 2018 Sundance festival, leaving a good taste in your mouth. The film, by the way, is also released on HBO Spain coinciding with the series.
Thus, ‘Betty’ is born as a spin off of the film … or almost as an apparently lighter and more comic reimagining of it with most of the cast (who are real skaters with no acting experience and is, in fact, something that it shows slightly) and that free spirit and determination to be great skaters in a predominantly masculine world.
An indie and semi-biographical series
They are Dede Lovelace as Janay, Moonbear as Honeybear, Nina Moran as Kirt, Ajani Russell as Indigo, and Rachelle Vinberg as Camille. This quintet earn the name of Bettys from the rest of the skaters, who do not end up wanting to make room for these girls in their world.
Although the series is about that, of girls who want their place both literally and figuratively to assert their tricks in the park, it is not a series that wants to stop in the drama or in the sexism presumably prevailing in the New York alternative leisure society .
Nor is it excessively serious with the conflicts in the lives of these young women. The script by Moselle and Lesley Arfin make sure to polish the plots enough to, while still addressing important life issues, provide a ray of charm, good vibes, and optimism.
Luminosity as a weapon
Shot in what seems like an eternal New York summer, one of the best words to describe ‘Betty’ is that it’s bright. Moselle’s camera immerses us in parks, swimming pools, shops, in the racket of summer and makes us complicit in this gang.
A gang that feels completely real, despite the fact that in just twenty minutes they seem to go from being unknown to best friends. We have the anguish of youth, characters as insecure as they are passionate. Girls with their problems and who are aware that this hobby in the form of a table with wheels, although it helps them escape their routine, does not solve their ballots.
Deep down, there is a sense of reality achieved first because these girls are real and the series is inspired by their own lives and their own circumstances. This, on the other hand, gives us a double-edged sword. Although the performance is very natural, it does show some interpretive deficiencies in the most demanding moments.
In short, the world of ‘Betty’ is a happy world. Aware of his problems but optimistic. And so is the series. These six episodes navigate between drama and comedy providing us with three hours that seem short. A “feel good” television capable of raising spirits and that aspires to become the first summer benchmark.