Hulu’s new series “Tell Me Lies” will be making it’s streaming debut next week on September 7th. Based on the book of the same name and written by Carola Lovering; the story centers around a back and forth relationship between two college students named Lucy and Stephen that takes place over the course of 8 years. The series explores the idea of never forgetting your worst relationship, and has us question the reasons behind some of our choices and why some people gravitate so strongly for people that aren’t “right” for them. What we get is an addictive drama with plenty of steam, and lots of story and character building. As a non book reader, the first 5 episodes of the series left me wanting more, and the story and it’s characters gripped me from beginning to end. If you love romance dramas that explores adult themes and the ugly sides of wanting someone, then you will enjoy this series. Minor spoilers ahead.
I want to start off by saying that the most important part of this show that works for me, is how well it does at tackling it’s subjects. The series explores toxic relationships within all the characters. We are shown the connections made, the sex, the romance, and the self doubt that comes with starting a new intimate relationship with someone new. I really appreciate that all this is shown through the eyes of Lucy, our female lead, and I think it’s important as a viewer for us to see and connect to her in some way so that we can understand why she is so willing to overlook the faults in Stephen who gives her plenty of red flags and lies early on. Lucy is able to recognize some of these major faults on her own, but overlooks them. She is deeply flawed, and has her own set of issues, especially one about her broken relationship with her mother that explains more and why she is the way that she is.
I also want to highlight the chemistry from our two leads, Grace Van Patten(Lucy Albright) and Jackson White(Stephen DeMarco) who are able to strongly portray their respective roles with ease. The characters of Lucy and Stephen have a lot of heavy material to tackle, and there’s much weight and rich character building here that they both do a great job portraying. I’m very excited to see where their careers take them next because these are some fantastic performances. The supporting cast are also pretty damn great, although for me personally, I find the lead characters the most interesting overall. I do appreciate that the side characters such as Diana(played by Alicia Crowder) and Wrigley(played by Spencer House) add interesting elements into the mix, and they are given plenty to do. Their side storylines never take away from the themes being explored in the main story, and nothing ever feels disjointed. I like that everything connects in an organic way, and there’s lots of layers that unfold with each episode that builds upon the story. The pacing is also steady which is great, because when you’re telling stories for multiple characters and lots of different story threads, things can get confusing.
Tell Me Lies explores the ugly side of dating by showing the addictive nature of finding someone new who can make us feel different and special enough for us to ignore all the red flags that may show up, and has us take a deep look at the toxic patterns we may unfortunately find ourselves in. Executive producer and showrunner Meaghan Oppenheimer said she wanted to write a show that captures how humiliating love can be, and I do believe the show executes this very well. They don’t hold back or sugarcoat the nature of Lucy and Stephen’s intoxicating and addictive romance, and we’re shown plenty of times why it’s not a good thing. From the very beginning, we aren’t meant to be rooting for them to work out, and I think it’s important that they show us why this type of relationship is not healthy and self destructive, while at the same time coming off as honest as possible, and never preachy. I hope this series also opens the door for people who have dealt with these type of relationships in real life to discuss their own experiences freely without harsh judgement from others. The characters are interesting. There are great performances all around. The pacing is wonderfully steady and easy to follow. If you like these type of down to earth dramas, this series is for you and will leave you wanting more at the end of each episode with every new reveal. Also, I have to give a major shoutout to whomever chose the songs for the soundtrack, because dang, that was good.
The firs 3 episodes of “Tell Me Lies” will be streaming on Hulu September 7th, with new episodes premiering every Wednesday thereafter.