Oh Netflix, how you’ve sent me some clear winners as of late.
There was Michelle Obama’s uplifting Becoming, Mindy Kaling’s teen sensation Never Have I Ever, Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini’s epic performances in Dead to Me, the trainwreck that was Tiger King and Chris Hemsworth’s abs in Extraction.
But your latest offering of Sweet Magnolias has left me feeling confused, angry, happy, sad and perplexed all at once.
In fact, I can’t remember a time when I binge-watched a show so intently, only to sigh and roll-my-eyes at the (sometimes) awful acting, ludicrous storylines and blatant obviousness of what was going to come next.
And while I found myself yelling at the screen on occasion like a madwoman (lucky I live alone) — I simply couldn’t look away. Never have I loved and hated something so much.
Sweet Magnolias is one of those terrible shows that are slow-paced, with sad music and drama, drama, drama. It’s sugary, syrupy and streamlined — much like a Hallmark movie you used to watch at midday when you were home sick from school, but oddly, it’s exactly what we need right now.
The series centres around three lifelong friends who lift each other up as they juggle relationships, family and careers in the small Southern town of Serenity, South Carolina.
It stars Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend, who is in the middle of divorcing her doctor husband Bill, played by American Pie’s Chris Klein — and excuse me, but when did he become a middle-aged dad?!
To add to their dramatic divorce (which includes their three children), Bill has had an affair with Noreen, a nurse at his clinic, who is played by Jamie Lynn Spears. Yes, Britney’s sister.
Then there are Maddie’s best friends.
Dana Sue (played by Drop Dead Gorgeous’ Brooke Elliot) who owns a restaurant smack-bang in the middle of town and is raising her teenage daughter on her own, and Helen (Heather Headley), their friend who is a lawyer and wants nothing more than kids of her own. Her biggest selling point? Her insanely captivating southern drawl.
Now that Bill has shacked up with the new mother of his impending child, Maddie must face her new life alone — that is until she meets and has undeniable chemistry with her son’s baseball Coach, (McSteamy) Cal Maddox (Justin Bruening) and her love life takes off as quickly as it simmered.
Meanwhile, the kids are navigating their own teenage dramas with love triangles, underage drinking and the urge for approval from their parents. And while we’ve seen these storylines over and over, you have to hand it to the show for casting kids that are actually teens. So there’s that.
And, just like in my favourite shows about small-town living, Hart of Dixie and Gilmore Girls (but definitely without the punch), Sweet Magnolias plants you in the middle of Serenity where your business is everyone’s business — and it’s just so-damn pleasant.
This series is truly one for a rainy weekend — and now that it’s coming into the throws of winter, you best be putting on your Sunday best and indulge.
Watch Sweet Magnolias on Netflix now.
WATCH: The official trailer for Sweet Magnolia.