High School dramas have populated our Netflix watch lists since Chuck Bass stole teenage hearts in Gossip Girl. ‘Baby’ has been deemed by several reviewers as the Italian equivalent to the Upper East Side drama. Set in one of Rome’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, ‘Baby’ predominantly follows the lives of Chiara, played by Benedetta Porcaroli and Ludovica played by Alice Pagani, as they navigate their way through high school tackling issues such as homophobia, class and growing up. The premise of Baby is similar to that of any high school drama, so what makes it different?
‘Baby’s’ first series was deemed controversial by critics as it’s loosely based on the 2014 story where two underage girls were found to be involved in a prostitution ring in Rome, using the money earnt to afford designer goods. The show received criticism from the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation for normalising “child sexual abuse and sex trafficking of minors as ‘prostitution’.” Having watched the first season and eagerly awaited the release of the second, I was intrigued to see what the show had in store.
The show is, at face value a teenage melodrama which falls slightly short of a dark, gritty drama you would expect from the grave and sensitive topic of childhood prostitution they are exploring. However, if you can look past this, the show is easy to follow, exciting to watch, and the characters are relatively compelling. The second series of the show continues on from the first, following Chiara and Ludo’s double lives, as Ludo tackles school and her increasingly suspicious mother, while Chiara navigates her relationship with Damiano and continuing their work as escorts. The show also follows the storyline of Fedeli, the principal’s son, coming to term with his sexuality and the reaction he receives from his peers which produces some scenes which are uncomfortable to watch. What ‘Baby’ does effectively is highlight the issues teenagers face and the realities of growing up in a generation so reliant on social media for self-worth, social standing and everyday life. It acknowledges and explores the pressures facing teens in conforming to society and growing up in such a pressured environment and the impact this growth has on relationships. However, to some extent ‘Baby’ does glamorise the severe issue of child prostitution, by shifting a focus more onto teenage life, it deflects the attention of the story from this serious issue, yet fails to truly expose the harsh reality and consequences associated with it. If you’re looking for a series to binge or to distract from your imminent deadlines, then ‘Baby’ is a good solution with six episodes worth of drama to keep you occupied.
Image Credit: Netflix