‘Wellmania’ Season 1 Review: A Humorous Take On Finding The Meaning Of Wellness


With over 9.5 million followers on Instagram, Celeste Barber is popular for her hilarious videos poking fun at beauty standards. Her imitations of celebrity pictures promote body positivity with a squeeze of humor, though not all celebrities agree with her approach. “Wellmania” is all Celeste Barber, and you surely will not complain about it. She brings her style of comedy to the character of Liv Healy. A 40-something food writer living in New York, Healy refuses to be defined by her age and is pretty much the life of every party. She is loud, self-absorbed, and at times unthoughtful, but she is good at her job. Her go-getter attitude landed her an opportunity to judge a television show, and she was beyond thrilled about it. But before she could start working on it, she had a birthday party to attend in Australia over the weekend and fly back to New York by Monday. To her surprise, nothing went as she had planned.

An unexpected turn of events forced Liv to stay back in her hometown. Her bag was stolen along with her green card, she suffered a blackout when she visited the US consulate to get her travel document, and she was forced to go through a medical examination. The doctor deemed Liv unfit for travel and thus began her journey to improve her health and return to the States to judge the television show. The wellness industry is enormous, and as a layman, it can be all too overwhelming. The series is based on “Wellmania: Misadventures in search of Wellness” by Brigid Delaney, where she explores the meaning of wellness and the various trends surrounding it.

From cleansing treatments to cupping therapy and meeting gurus, Liv does it all. Liv’s decision to get well was driven by her interest in traveling back to New York, and that was primarily why she struggled with the process. She eventually realized that her blackouts were not only a result of her physical condition; they also had a lot to do with her mental health. Her hometown brought back memories that she had buried a long time ago. She was desperate to leave, not only to get back to her work but also to run away from the past. Her extended stay at home forced her to face who she was. Even though she tried to focus solely on improving her health, she was forced to deal with her family as well. The more time she spent with them, the more she realized how disappointing she was to the people around her.

Liv is far from perfect, and her self-obsession makes it difficult for her friends and family to sympathize with her. Amy’s award ceremony was ruined by Liv’s candidness; she managed to become the center of attention at her mother’s retirement lunch, and Gaz struggled to keep his life in order as a result of her antics. In all honesty, we have seen enough characters like Liv Healy to know where it all stems from. The loud attitude is meant to camouflage the suffering within, and how often childhood has a role to play. In recent times, it has become common for the main character to be heavily flawed, and it is often their flaws that end up making them relatable. When it comes to Liv Healy, it is no different. She is humorous, flawed, and even unlikable, but she is quite relatable. Just like Liv, most of us are part of the rat race with barely any time to sit back and relax. Our career goals are far more important than the quality of life we are living. Instead of a lifestyle change, the focus is always on ticking a few boxes. “Wellmania” provokes us to think about the choices we make in life. We are reminded of the importance of guiltlessly pressing the snooze button at times.

The confusion around wellness is all too real, given the varied options that are easily available. “Wellmania” encapsulates the struggle of living a fast-paced life and also wanting to improve both physical and mental health quite well. It is a light-hearted comedy series that is not brilliant but, at the same time, has an addictive quality to it. You will want to watch more of Liv Healy, even though she is absolutely intolerable most of the time.

The generational mismatch is also quite appropriately portrayed with Liv and her mother’s constant bickering. As a working parent, she struggled to understand how different the meaning of work was in their lives. She chose to work when she wanted to keep herself busy and away from depressing thoughts, and on the other hand, she could see her daughter struggle with her life as a result of her ambition. The friendship between Liv and Isaac was heartwarming and humorous. The writer cliches are present in this Netflix series as well, and by now, it is a little too tiring to watch how ideas come popping in, and within a few hours, we have a viral article (I wish it was that easy!). Created by Brigid Delaney and Benjamin Law, “Wellmania” is not the first of its kind, and it surely is not the best of its kind, but it is definitely worth a watch. While I would prefer not to have Liv Healy in my life, I won’t mind watching her on Netflix once again.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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