on HBO and DVD
Never has a TV show made me feel like such a jerk for being such a sarcastic jerk – but I just can’t help myself when the dialogue of The #1 Ladies Detective Agency gets so simple (seriously, most conversations consist of “He sounds like a good man”, “He is a good man”, “Perhaps a bad man is making him do bad things” “Mma, a very bad man”… and on and on). But still, the show is quite charming in its way, despite the inherent condescension in the script that tends to over simplify its characters.
It’s like an updated Murder She Wrote re contextualized in the incredible, and incredibly shot, location of Botswana. The show was directed by the late Anthony Minghella, and his deep love of warm, epic landscapes is intact; and the costumes are quite inspiring and breathtaking as well. No women can mix pattern, shapes, and looks like the ladies presented here – I started re-mixing and matching my wardrobe in my head as I was watching.
Jill Scott is a sweetheart and one of the few women with girth on television who has a healthy body image, but the real star of the show, as far as I’m concerned, is the sassy wide-eyed little errand boy, Wellington.
It’s not edgy viewing and if you’re an asshole like me you might even find it grating at times, but some night it’s great to tune into a simple mystery show nset in a world few of us are familiar with.