We have always liked Meghan and Harry. She was a self-made woman, and he was, well, the best he could be considering the limitations placed on him due to his station in life. Additionally, they have always felt like genuinely good people. But it must be said that they have zero clue as to how to write their own story. While watching the three episodes of “Harry & Meghan,” we couldn’t help remembering their Oprah interview and how excessively sentimental Meghan had come across as, with Harry looking like he couldn’t wait to get done with it all. Don’t get us wrong; we do believe them and understand their decision to detach themselves from a toxic family that is less about love and care and more about the look of the institution. But God, these two just don’t know how to present themselves.
Yes, we realize that every reality show is scripted. That cat was out of the bag long ago. But there is a thing called “sensitivity of context.” Meghan is not a celebrity who is trying to promote her new movie or maintain her relevance. She is a person who is trying to explain her side of the story so that she can find some agency for herself and her family, away from the public’s hatred and scrutiny. Right from the moment her association with Prince Harry came to public attention, the discourse against her has been vile and completely racist and sexist. People are mad at her for choosing to step away from the Royal family without once questioning why they love the family so much to begin with. They have always just enjoyed the romantic image of it, and a reality check was not digestible. Meghan and Harry had to have known that. In that case, should they have really started their narration with their love story? Don’t people already know how that happened? And forgive us, but other than the optics of the transatlantic nature of their relationship, with her being an American actress and him being a British prince, their love story is quite boring. Fine, you fell in love pretty fast, but as we were going through the narration of their story, what we could understand is that while Meghan was a smart, independent woman, Harry was somewhat unremarkable. At least, that’s how the series presented it. The one thing we could not digest was when she said that she did not Google him before meeting him. We refuse to believe that bit. Because Googling someone is not an act of curiosity but of safety, she had said in the Oprah interview as well that she did not look him up because he was telling her everything. That statement was not a good look for Americans.
Either way, the one message that the first three episodes of “Harry & Meghan” have been intent on delivering is how much of a villain the media has been in their lives. For Harry, it started with his mother. It is a well-known fact that the sad demise of Princess Diana was because of the intrusive nature of the paparazzi. He spoke about how their presence has affected his entire life, along with all of his relationships. They also emphasize how it is the women of the royal family who have to face it more than the rest. That part, we can agree on. It cannot be argued that we live in a sexist world where women are held to arbitrary standards of behavior, with the burden of tradition being placed mostly on their shoulders. Harry makes a point that Meghan being targeted by the British media was a more severe case than the other women of the Royal family because, in her case, her race was in the picture. This aspect of their story needed them to talk about the intersection of race, class, and feminism. Maybe they will get there in future episodes, but they are taking it at an alarmingly slow pace, one that is detrimental to their story.
The problem is that what should have been presented as a gritty, realistic look at the Royal family is playing out like a Christmas romance movie. Maybe it is the timing, but this format is placing the couple at a disadvantage. Allow us to explain ourselves for a second. It is a dated but cute story in which a bright, intelligent girl falls in love with the prince without having any idea about who he is, which means that she is the “only one” who loves him for his ‘real nature’. But this part of the story was already public knowledge. When we see these characters in a story, we believe the innocence of their motivations because we know they are fictional. Seeing them in real life feels a lot less convincing because we don’t trust real people. Considering that, it felt like the writers were trying a little too hard to convince us of the couple’s love. We might still have accepted it if they had been more real about it. Alright, Meghan did not know about Harry and Diana when she went on a date with him, but did she not know that till after she got married? Did that not make her think even once? With all the comparisons they made between Diana and Meghan, how did they miss covering this very probable part of their journey? And if it did not happen, Meghan is not as bright a person as she is being presented.
The three episodes of “Harry & Meghan” were undoubtedly, all about Meghan. Harry’s time was just about the pitfalls of being born a Royal. There was another segment about how “normal” he is, which is showcased by the time he spent in Lesotho. This obsession with showing celebrities (yes, he is one) as people just like us is getting more tasteless by the day. However, we have noted that he has a nice sense of humor. Why didn’t they show that more? Meghan has a screen presence, but we can definitely bet that Harry is the one who is charming, off-screen. The point of these episodes was to show that Meghan is not the villain she has been painted as. In fact, it’s the media. Let’s say we agree to all of that, but Meghan and Harry have still not gotten to the point. Yes, the part of us that is inordinately interested in other people’s lives wants to know what happened with these guys. We got a glimpse of that in the Oprah interview, but we tuned into this series to get more details. But the way these three episodes have gone is making us think that we might not get what we want.
We are curious to know how Netflix is paying them. Is the sum based on their tell-all story, or is it based on the format? Like, will they pay more for a series and less for a movie? Is that why these two are unnecessarily stretching things out? They must realize that they are not exactly showing us life-changing or real-world events. It is royal gossip at best. Shouldn’t it be crisper to be more interesting? Maybe only the last 20 minutes of “Harry & Meghan” Episode 3 got us curious about what’s to come next Sunday. We pray to the gods that they deliver them.