Raunchily Simple: Our Review of ‘Running with Violet-A Webseries’

Posted in Webseries, What's Streaming? by - July 16, 2019
Raunchily Simple: Our Review of ‘Running with Violet-A Webseries’

When Running with Violet began, small town housewife Miranda (Marie-Claire Marcotte) faced abuse from her husband Blair (Jamie Spilchuk). She does have a best friend in Jolene (Rebecca Davey, who, with Marcotte, serves as the web series’ co-creator). But Jolene has her own issues in raising the series’ namesake, Violet (Violet Alfred), as a new single mother. Things do turn around for both women as Miranda renders Blair unconscious and eventually leads her to Blair’s drugs. Both women, then, find themselves within their small town’s illicit meth trade.

During their first season, Davey and Marcotte cooked something up that gives room for female characters to have some complexity. Viewers also came in because of Jessii Vee, a Youtube personality who plays Frankie, Jolene’s ex-husband’s girlfriend’s daughter. This is Vee’s first acting job and she provides great comic relief in a series already full of witticisms. It also has its share of actors who are familiar to fans of Canadian film who bring necessary gravitas. Lightning struck in 2017. But can Davey and Marcotte do it again and expand on the world they have built?

Davey and Marcotte try to, doing so with episodes that longer than the episodes released from two years ago. They make full use of both their Canadian and American funding as the plot makes a detour to Florida. There, beauty product marketers recruit Jolene and Miranda to be the head of that company’s branch in Pictonville, Canada. The move from drug runners to beauty product saleswomen seems more legitimate until drugs come back into the their lives. Now, they face the consequences of making drug addicts out of the diversely rich women in Pictonville.

This season, Davey and Marcotte switch out  the people behind the scenes. Those crew members gave the series a unique aesthetic. The first season has director Lindsay Mackay and cinematographer Guy Godfree who made those episodes look distinctly Canadian. This time around we have Joyce Wong as a director, giving pops of color to these expanded scenes. But I kind of miss the old look, since this brighter Pictonville turns the town into a garish caricature. This new season also tries some Canadian visual tropes but it ends up looking more like short Fargo episodes.

It also seems like a mistake not to expand on the many characters that this show already has. Frankie spends most of the time nursing Stella (Claire Armstrong), who has a static arc during this season. Instead, we get Jolene and Miranda’s new beauty product bosses from Florida, Samantha (Andrea Bang) and Xorge (Amy Matsio). The series turn both bosses into queer archetypes like the perky Asian feminine lesbian and her more butch girlfriend. Diluting all characters’ potential makes this new season a letdown in comparison to how glorious the first season was.

Another thing I was wondering throughout this new season is where Violet was throughout all of these shenanigans. She pops up once in a while both in person or as a topic of conversation among Jolene’s new clients. But she takes a figurative back seat just like most of the supporting cast who needed arcs. I also have no qualms about characters being good parents or bad ones as long as they’re complex. I just missed the dynamic of having a toddler around drugs which we, unfortunately, don’t get this time around.

  • Release Date: 7/15/2019
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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