And They Pull Me Back In: Danish TV Series Rita


Image: Screengrab from a Rita promo video [SOURCE]

Once upon a time, I was a TV addict. I couldn't get enough. My weekly fix revolved around what shows were airing that night. In addition to learning the essentials that any young girl needs, including such gems as be cool, stay in school and don't ingest caffeine pills, I credit television with giving my life structure and direction. After years of making it to the couch on a consistent basis through my Bill Haverchuck-like devotion, I am proud to say that I am a super punctual and somewhat focused adult.

My love of the boob tube died off gradually by the late 2000s. Curious by nature, I had developed this insatiable need take a note from the late Spalding Gray, go left on skis and quit living vicariously through fictional characters. So that is what I have done since, living fully engrossed in my own real life. Then this past January rolled around, I discovered Rita and welcomed television back into my life.  

The Danish series about a rebel teacher in a small town took a second to draw me in. Once there, however, I realized that the reason I didn't instantly like it was that the show builds on each episode-- which is the reason I continued to watch even though I didn't instantly like it. Genius!* After watching all 8 episodes of the first season, I was so disappointed to discover that season 2 wasn't available-- until this past week when Netflix finally sent me a notice about something I actually wanted to watch. This time after watching the entire season, I was stoked to learn that Netflix is co-financing a third season! 

For me, it's all about Rita. Sure, she can be reckless and inappropriate and it messes with her kids. But she doesn't stand for cruelty or indignity. For someone a bit savage, this is a wonderful contrast expertly executed by actress Mille Dinesen, who never ever comes off as self-righteous or conflicted about the fact that she sucks sometimes. She sucks sometimes, but she keeps it moving. She's wounded and strong, sexy and down to earth. I'm not making this a habit by any stretch of the imagination. But yeah, Rita makes for a worthwhile return to TV.

*A bit of sarcasm there. I prefer shows that are not entirely made up of stand-alone episodes.


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