‘Dash & Lily’ is Netflix’s latest young-adult book adaptation, this time coming from the book ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’ written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The story follows two contrasting personalities who feel very strongly about Christmas. Dash, a mildly pessimistic non-believer and Lily a very optimistic Christmas enthusiast communicate by writing to each other in a red notebook. Despite never having met, the two bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately their personal lives is bound to get in the way. The series stars Austin Abrams, Midori Franics, Dante Brown and Troy Iwata.
When it comes to Christmas, I am very much a Lily. I love this time of year, I love traditions and family and all that jazz. Seeing a Christmas show on Netflix’s coming soon section really took me by surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show take place around Christmas. The trailer made it seem like a fun time and so I added it to my list. It came out yesterday and I binged it all, half in the morning and the rest at night. I really, genuinely enjoyed this show. I am loving Netflix’s lineup of quality rom-com shows. They feel new and fresh and bring something new to the genre. After ‘Never Have I Ever’ and now this, I can safely say that the teen rom-com genre lives on Netflix. That being said, romance isn’t ‘Dash & Lily’s’ strongest suit and it’s not a flaw at all.
‘Dash & Lily’ is at it’s strongest when we see these contrasting personlities introduce each other to a new perspective on the world. Christmas isn’t the same for everyone, some people love it and some people genuinely do not care for it. Most times, when we see a protagonist who hates Christmas they get completely changed by the end. Unlike Scrooge and the Grinch, this story’s non-believer doesn’t get completely changed by the end. Both Dash and Lily change but not drastically so. They both got each other out of their shell and Christmas is a great time for that. It’s a time where it’s easier to believe that the world is a nicer place than usual. Lead actors Abrams and Francis do a wonderful job bringing these characters to life. One of my favourite scenes has to be Lily taking Dash on a dare in front of an intensely decorated house. Dash being the pessimist that he is says there is nothing to look at but plastic but then he sees an old couple gleefully taking a photo and it for a second he gets what Christmas is all about. I feel like we can all relate to that. A moment in our lives where we understand the beauty of this time of year.
Besides nailing the emotional complexity of the holiday season, this show also looks the part. Every room, every store and location is decorated to perfection. There’s even a nice contast to Dash and Lily’s rooms. Dash has this grey-ish apartment from his father and Lily lives in a jolly red room which really makes some shots stand out. There are times where it feels like they copy Mamma Mia’s usage of blue but with red, red walls, sweaters and clothes all in one shot. The show especially takes advantage of the Christmas decor in stores and restaurants. Even though I don’t live in New York or America for that sake, it made me feel like I was there, it revived that feeling when you’re in a mall and it’s Christmastime.
That being said, the irony of watching ‘Dash & Lily’ in 2020 really does affect the viewing experience. Seeing these characters having a normal holiday season was a constant reminder that we won’t be getting one this year. After finishing the first half yesterday I did feel pretty sad knowing we are going to miss out. Some might see this show and live vicariously through the characters but I didn’t see that. Obviously it is no way the show’s fault but seeing all the decorated shops and families sitting down to enjoy dinner really bummed me out, especially since my dumbass government basically made it illegal to get together with your family on Christmas day. Yeah, it’s pretty bad right now for everyone and if you are someone who is really sad about not having a normal Christmas this year, I’d watch this show with caution. Saying that really does give the show credit for how well it captures the holiday season so again, it’s by no means a flaw.
Overall, ‘Dash & Lily’ tells a very captivating story about contrasting opinions and how certain people can alter them. It never forces them to be different, it just allows them to have a broader perspective and I really love that. I was immensely invested in their growing romance and I’m not ashamed to say that a tear may have been shed at the end. With strong lead performances and a gorgeous view of New York during Christmastime, I can definitely say this may become a future tradition for me. It’s that good.