Why My Little Reindeer is a hit on Netflix

Why My Little Reindeer is a hit on Netflix

Led by Richard Gadd, until then unknown on the international scene, the series has unleashed passions since its broadcast on the streaming platform.

British mini-series created, scripted and played by Richard GaddScottish comedian, My little reindeer has been talking a lot on social networks since its addition, in mid-April, to the Netflix catalog. No promotion, no special emphasis, nothing. A five-point look at this little phenomenon, somewhat out of nowhere, which fascinates subscribers.

Beware of My Little Reindeer

Because everyone wants to know what the “little reindeer”

Many Internet users admit to having been taken in by it. “My little reindeer” (“Baby Reindeer” in English) is a title that stands out in the Netflix programming for this month of April 2024. To hear it, we could imagine a colorful universe, animation perhaps. Colorful animals, which talk, which even sing. Or a big Santa Claus on his sleigh, whose rich, hearty laughter would be interspersed with the tinkling of a bell.

However, the reality is quite different. My little reindeerthis is the story of Donny, wannabe comedian, who works in a bar while waiting for his chance. When it arrives, it's not necessarily what he was hoping for. It's even quite the opposite. Her name is Martha, and she's going to make his life hell. Alone, sick, this older woman becomes infatuated with our thirty-year-old, follows him, harasses him, and transforms his life into a nightmare.

The painting of reindeer hopping in the snow is covered by a gigantic shadow, that of the real subject of the British series: harassment and sexual and moral assault.

Attention, My little reindeer is therefore reserved for an informed public.

Because it presents nuanced, authentic characters

He, Donny, and she, Martha, form a tandem inextricably linked by the torments of a cycle of psychological torture. A complexity that we owe to an incredible performance of their performers, Richard Gadd And Jessica Gunningbut also to a characterful writing that rejects archetypes and Manichaeism.

In My little reindeer, nothing is ever all white or all black. There is not on one side the nice Little Red Riding Hood, and on the other the big bad wolf (or, he is not played by Martha). With his characters, Richard Gadd proves to us that life is not a fairy tale. Personalities are always textured, in relief, never one-dimensional. And that changes.

Because its perfect narration is infused with mastered black humor

Richard Gadd is a fairly popular comedian in the United Kingdom, and especially in Scotland, his country of origin. The series is even actually adapted from his 2019 show, Baby Reindeerbig winner of an Olivier Award, one of the most prestigious British distinctions.

Gadd has made this transition from stage to small screen perfectly. The seven thirty-minute episodes, without titles but numbered from 1 to 7, follow one another like the acts of a great whole of which we can't wait to know the end. Better still, in this very personal story, he succeeds in keeping the viewer in suspense, less as a reaction to relative suspense than as an echo of the enormities he recounts. A mechanism made possible by the sole presence of an underlying distancing humor.

In short, a true exercise in style which can only recall the genius of Fleabagthe series created, written and embodied by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Because it sensitively addresses essential subjects

Martha's harassment of Donny is an opportunity to address more than current topics: cyber-harassment, stalkingemotional blackmail, narcissistic pervert personality… Around this core, there is a whole system of violence, from the most trivialized to the most unbearable, that the actor-screenwriter denounces in My little reindeer : toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia (with, in particular, the character of Teri, played by Nava Mau), mental disorders, sexual harassment, sexual assault…

The body is at the center of this narrative: manipulated, disembodied, raped, drugged… Through these more or less extreme forms of physical stigmata, the following question arises: after so much pillage, can a body still get up again? Work? Function well?

Because its accuracy is based on its deeply personal aspect

Once recovered from the (intentional) disloyalty of the title, some Internet users admit to having also been stunned to learn that the seven episodes of the fictional mini-series recounted a very real episode in the life of Richard Gadd.

Catharsis transformed into mise en abyss, My little reindeer sees the actor putting his body at the service of telling the story of his own trauma. But at the same time, it is the keys to his own mind that he offers to the viewer. With a voice-over dissecting the images at the same time as we discover them, the series is a true psychological dive into the moods of an individual who uses the scenario as a retroactive self-analysis of the actions of Martha, her stalker, but also her own.

Fact or fiction? In truth, My little reindeer is a melting pot of these two ends, who refuses to choose between two sides of the same coin. Neither a simple adaptation of a news item, nor a mockumentary, the series is placed in an almost never exploited in-between, which makes it a little UFO in the Netflix catalog.

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