(Updated 12/15/2022 - Part 2 was just released. I haven't seen it yet, but apparently it does now dip into royal-family issues, as well as her own family issues.
(*Edited - content added)
... because the nastiest characters in this series aren't anyone in the royal family - they are the press and paparazzi themselves - who aren't even directly named ;)
In fact, sorry to break this to you, royal-dirt-lovers-who-are-part-of-the-problem - nothing negative was said about anyone in the royal family - at all (at least not yet) the only negative has been about press and paparazzi.
Yes, I'm putting my blog back to public for a few weeks for 2 reasons: The first is that someone privately hadn't got a chance to read my last few posts yet as to why I was taking it down (that post is below, untouched), and secondly, I feel like this needs to be said about the Harry & Megan series (though most American viewers that I know liked the series, but they are kind people with empathy for others).
Comments are still closed, however.
Now - what I find very interesting is that most of legitimate American press hasn't given a formal review yet (just rags like the New York Post), likely waiting for all three installments to drop on Netflix first?
However, even preliminary American reviews haven't said anything negative, other than "Where's the dirt?"
(If that's what you're saying, then you're part of the problem and completely missed the point of the series.)
British press, however, regardless of political side, wasted no time in giving formal reviews panning it, for various vapid reasons (see below), after just the first installment. Note the American reviews aren't from major legitimate press, but the British legitimate press has already left what are very clearly emotionally-driven, bitter, negative reviews (by female British journalists, I might add), after only the first installment episodes ...
If you read Lucy Mangan's full article at The Guardian, she said she nearly brought up her breakfast - harsh!
As for Carol Midgley's review (Times UK - royal-contracted paparazzi rag), I didn't get that impression at all, by the way, that they're "in love with themselves" and "love attention" - because in fact, did they not step away from the main limelight of royal life?
They're just telling their side of the story versus press - but once again, damned if they do, damned if they don't - if you're silent, though perhaps the most mature way to handle things, "silence" in these tense political days is now is wrongfully equated with "cover up" or "guilty" - at least when it comes to public perception - and perception has become reality, more than ever :(
I personally found them to be, first and foremost, still deeply and miraculously in love with each other, as well as very genuine and authentic - well, as authentic as you can be under constant public scrutiny - and I was glad to see that Harry is the one who has continued his mother's legacy of charity and being authentic.
In fact, remember that the same things were said at first about Diana, too, until not too long before she died - but Diana ended up being loved for her authenticity.
It's taking more time for the public to get there with Harry and Meghan, likely because they left the toxicity of royal demands and press arrangements much earlier on than Diana did, as well as Meghan's race during an already racially tense time :/
I also found them to have a "balance of power" in that relationship, neither him nor her was "in control" - which always make the best relationships :)
(In fact, if anything, it was Harry most often putting his foot down, appearing to still vehemently protect his family's privacy with the the filmmakers.)
I also think they're also just especially sensitive people - and there's nothing wrong with that, but their "fishbowl" situation would be especially hard on sensitive people - just telling their side of the story for themselves, which they have every right to do.
So you know what I suspect the REAL problem is with these negative, predominantly British reviews?
I think the press, paparazzi, and public - particularly British - don't like the series because it holds up a mirror to themselves, and they don't like what they see and don't want to be held accountable, rather than being able to continue to keep the focus on throwing things at Harry and Meghan, scapegoating them for not just already-existing and inherent problems in the institution that is the royal family, but the UK itself, as well as America. ;)
Now - if that is the case, then allow me to say this to particularly British press and paparazzi ...
I'm sorry you don't like what you see in the mirror, but the fact is - it is fact - you did say and do these things, and you were partially responsible for Diana's death, IMO - and you hadn't enough basic human decency to respect the privacy wishes of Harry and his wife afterwards, actually upping the ante.
If it bothers you that they're talking about what you said and did to them again, then perhaps it's time to take a good hard look at yourselves and take some responsibility, for a change?
But of course you can't do that, so perhaps then it's YOU who are the ones that need to "toughen up" and "deal with/get over it" and "move on," rather than Harry and Meghan - you know, follow your own "advice."
In fact, the criticisms from British press - who, again, are the only ones that have given a formal review despite this being just the first installment in the series - kind of support that theory, because the worst thing they can say is that it was so sweet it made them vomit, it's all about Harry & Meghan (erm - duh?), and rich people whining.
As IF we didn't learn from Harry's mother, Diana, already that money doesn't solve problems or resolve family dysfunction or pain - and don't forget that being a British Royal, you don't have even a 10th of the freedom and choices commoners do.
The main common criticism from both American and British press, however, was "Where's the dirt on the royal family?"
There isn't any (at least not yet) - and shame on you - because it's your appetite for every detail of the royal family's private lives that feeds the paparazzi and press, which is what killed Harry's mother?!?
Because it's essentially a love story - a couple who sacrificed everything for each other - Meghan, her career and privacy, and Harry, his royal duties and money - and are still clearly very deeply in love.
That's right - despite everything both countries have thrown at them - they have somehow weathered and survived it all, and it's only made them closer and more in love than ever :)
What's not to like about that, especially at Christmas?
It IS sweet - what's wrong with sweet?
At least it's real sugar rather than saccharine?
Jealous much, Lucy Mangan and Carol Midgley, writing the above vague, vapid and bitter-tinged reviews? ;)
And before anyone says it's contrived, most of the footage is their private video diaries, which they began as soon as they left the UK.
It also detailed very clearly that although all who marry in the family - particularly the women - have to go through this trial by fire, the extra component that the other women didn't have was using Meghan's race as an extra weapon against her.
Not only was Meghan not prepared for that, but even Harry - who already feared what happened to his mother would happen to Meghan - said he was surprised by how viciously racist it became.
Particularly towards Meghan - saying that she was "Straight Outta Compton," (though she has never even been there), "Gangsta wedding," and I think we know the rest, pictures of monkeys being shown as their first child, etc. - it was disgusting.
For the record, not a word of this published article published by the Daily Mail is true, with the exception of for her mother, Doria, being a social worker - in fact, Meghan's mother still lives in the same house she always has, inherited from her father, which is in View Park-Windsor Hills, California - nowhere near Compton (a place Meghan has never even been), is several miles outside of Crenshaw, and Meghan went to a private all-girls school, as well as Northwestern University - a highly competitive, top-20 U.S. university..
And to her credit, Meghan said of it "Why would you bring Compton into it and insult them like that?" :)
Sorry to break this to some, but there really weren't any bombshells at all, just shedding more light on the details.
In fact, the biggest bombshell for me was finding out that though the UK abolished slavery before we did, they had a tax plan to compensate the slave owners for their economic losses that continued until 2015!
The HM Treasury Department posted this fact on Twitter themselves, then later deleted it after an uproar - because they tried to put a positive spin on the title, but read the "fine print" (in the red area, bottom left ) - but it's absolutely true.
That's right, folks - since Britain ended slavery in 1832, British taxpayers themselves have paid the already-wealthy British aristocracy for their economic losses from prior slave-owning for nearly 200 years, through their taxes - while the slaves themselves and their families got nothing - and these taxes were paid to them UNTIL 2015!!!
I had no idea - and if anything "made me want to bring up my breakfast," it was learning that fact.
Seriously, Lucy Mangan - with all the filth like this, the love story was the part that made you want to "bring up your breakfast?!?"
Do us a favor - give your internal moral compass a swift kick, for me, because I think it's on the blink.
You can go back to ranting about feminism and racism again, completely oblivious to how you just contributed to that problem yourself, like the biggest hypocrite ever - out of nothing more than what was clearly your own jealousy of their relationship.
However - I don't think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater with UK's entire constitutional monarchy or our constitutional democratic republic here in the U.S., because there are some good things about both our histories to be preserved - as I've said before, perhaps it could be less of a "cancel culture" than and more of a "cultural closet cleaning" with real discussions about the things we find and whether justice and human rights are truly equal in both countries - with eyes wide open?
So as not to end on a sour note, the most poignant moment for me was Meghan, holding Archie (though you never see the children's faces except in already-released public photos) with Archie reaching out and touching a picture of "Grandma Diana" and "talking" to her (babbling).
(I can't find a video yet that isn't narrated by someone else to share, so here's a link to a non-narrated clip of it.)
I'm not even gonna lie, I teared up over this - if that doesn't grab your heart and rip it right out of your chest, I don't know what will, or you have no heart :(
It's strange, but in the best of ways - because babies under a year old (which Archie was at the time) don't usually fixate on 2-dimensional photos without color or flash, especially for so long - it was almost like ... dare I say ... he recognized her, actually "talking" to her, trying to touch her? :(
Then again, I believe loved ones who have passed on are around us and perhaps children especially can see and hear them, so who knows, maybe he did recognize her - regardless, nice thought, isn't it? :)
Diana would've made a wonderful grandmother, super sorry she didn't get to meet them. I'm quite sure she would be proud of their decision to take more control of their own lives and protect their family from the press at all costs (especially considering the way she died), and take a stand against the more shameful constructs of culture that it's high time we did away with.
In fact, the only criticism I had of the show is I wish they had waited a bit longer after the Queen's death to release it - perhaps Valentine's Day.
I get it, it's because it's sweet, it's mostly positive (except about the press/paparazzi), and it's Christmas - plus they do have to do something for income - but I don't think people were ready for this, this soon after the Queen's death, which IMO, is also part of the negative backlash.
Is it the best documentary I've ever seen?
Well, no - but I for one will be watching the second installment.
And I encourage you to do the same with an open mind - because if nothing else, perhaps we can agree on the aspect that this couple has been damned if they do, damned if they don't, their entire journey - speak or don't speak, stay or go - either way they go, fault and blame will be found - and yet, their love for each other not only has endured, but is stronger than ever :)
Go Harry and Meghan - AND - Go Royal Family!
I say "Go" to both because it's not easy for any of them living in this fishbowl, and on that point, I don't choose sides.
Also, as I've said previously, I admired both Diana AND the Queen for different reasons - we do not always have to take sides!
And yet my heart lies with Harry and Meghan, how brave and family-protective what they've done actually is, to just walk away from the toxicity, I can't help myself.
Though I admit, it could've been done better, there's no guidebook on this and I'm quite sure most of us wouldn't have done a better job of it, if we're honest.
So Go Harry and Meghan on that aspect, I'll be watching Part 2, for sure!