‘My Life With The Walter Boys’ Review: Netflix’s Series Is Surprisingly Good With Well-Written Characters


Based on Ali Novak’s My Life With The Walter Boys, the series is about the story of a girl who is trying to find her place in a new world. Jackie lost her entire family one day in an accident, and since then, she has made her academics her life. Six months after the accident, her uncle, who is her only remaining relative, drops her off at the Walters, according to the wishes of his dead sister. Thereby begins Jackie’s new life.

First things first, it is difficult to understand the media’s hyper-fixation on teenagers. Nothing about the actions of Cole, Alex, and Jackie, or any of the others, makes us view them as teenagers. The only explanation we can come up with is that people are obsessed with finding everlasting love at a young age because romance ‘has to be’ at the forefront of life and is the magic solution to all troubles. That being said, the series itself was rather fun to watch. Love triangles are at the heart of it, and if we didn’t see them in season 1, they promise to be there in season 2. (Spoiler Alert) Cole-Jackie-Alex was the obvious love triangle, but we may get more with Tara-Richard-Nikhil or some sort of mess with Haley-Will-Morgan. That is alright since it has been handled very organically.

Secondly, there are no villains in the series. Richard briefly seems like one, but he makes up for it by being a stand-up guy who is just looking out for his niece. Erin was a bona fide villain at the beginning of My Life With The Walter Boys, and her personal struggles don’t make up for her behavior, but there is a lot more to her character growth that will probably be explored in season 2.

Coming to the supporting cast, we absolutely loved how they were just not aides to the leads’ story or present only to further their struggles. By this, we don’t just mean that they had their own lives, which is a given, considering there are ten episodes in the season. We mean that they let each other be by not getting overly involved in their lives, which was rather realistic. On that note, we wished that Katherine’s character had been explored a tad bit more. She lived with a very supportive and loving family, and something about her refusing to celebrate her achievements felt odd to us. Perhaps there is nothing much to it, but there have to be challenges to being the only woman living in a house full of very overwhelming boys, and that should have been discussed more.

We have put off the best for the last, so let us come to Cole, Alex, and Jackie. To discuss Cole first, we found it very interesting that he was written to be so vulnerable and flawed. What we mean is that in most series or movies where the ‘bad boy’ is a potential love interest, it is hard to understand why the girl is attracted to him in the first place other than for the fact that she is supposed to be. Also, he simply proves to be extremely frustrating throughout the narrative, and we have always hated how that is supposed to be read as his ‘complexity.’ That stereotype was broken in My Life With The Walter Boys season 1, when we actually understood Cole as a character, with his insecurities, flaws, and occasional merits. It also helped that Jackie and Cole had some chemistry, which justified their ‘meaningless’ attraction.

We also have to discuss Alex. Usually, it is the ‘good guy’ romantic interest whom we all root for because they are simply that good. But if Cole was getting written realistically, then Alex couldn’t be far behind. This has actually enabled the audience to place Cole and Alex in the same hierarchy, and the choice is that much more difficult. This is how it should be, and it is also why we say that this is a series for adults and not kids, because this is more close to our understanding of real-life romance.

Finally, we come to Jackie, and may we be allowed to say congratulations to Ali Novak and the writer of the series for managing to make her non-irritating? We generally don’t like how overachievers are written in romantic comedies. They are almost cartoonish, and that is supposed to be the ‘cute factor’ that attracts all that romantic attention. But with Jackie, she showed that she was much more than that. Also, at least she tried to do the right thing, and throughout being confused and clear about her feelings, she held herself accountable for her actions, which we don’t see a lot of female leads in rom-coms do. We will not call her our favorite character, but we were surprised that we did not hate her. To give perspective to our opinion, consider Nan in The Buccaneers or Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty. Katherine could have been our favorite, but we don’t know enough about her. That should be rectified in season 2, if and when it comes.

Finally, this is a great series to watch if you want something sweet and meaningful. The place looks good, and the cinematography could have been somewhat better to justify the love for the wild depicted there, but overall, it is a great watch. Writing is its real strength, beyond anything else. We haven’t read Ali Novak’s book, so we can’t say if the characterization is her work or an alteration by the person who adapted it for the screen, but that is what has worked the real magic. And the cliffhanger was a wonderful bet. The person who wrote the series understood very well that this is a show that will hook its audiences into the lives of the characters; therefore, a second season would be a fabulous addition to the story instead of just a cash grab or a forced extension. My Life With The Walter Boys is really one of the better feel-good shows to come out at the end of the year and is actually worthy of being binge-watched right away.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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