Dash & Lily is a holiday rom-com fare that you deserve

Friday, November 13, 2020

I have always loved Christmas themed everything: Starbucks cups I collect as holiday decor, Spotify playlist which I aptly call 'We'll Always Have Christmas' and to my opinion, ' The only holiday mixtape that you need', window displays and decorations in my favorite stores, yuletide anthologies like My True Love Gave to Me ( this deserves a series of its own, swear!) and Let it Snow, holiday movies like Love Actually. I love everything Christmassy, Grinch would have gone ballistic. 

And now adding to the delightful mix is Netflix's Dash & Lily! 

After months of self-imposed Netflix cleanse primarily influenced by my number 1 favorite 2gether The Series/Still2gether, I know I can't keep dodging the temptations for so long since December is upon us and with this month comes flurrying are avalanche of Christmas movies that I totally can't resist. It's the holidays and I can always go back to modern-day, fairy tale Bangkok first thing next year just in time for F4 Thailand which I am still debating whether I'll support or not. But that's another subject for a blog entry. 

The thing about me is that I am super picky with the art that I consume. Because of it, I missed a lot of shows that are on everybody's radars ( Emily in Paris, The Queen's Gambit anyone) but that's just me. But when I found out that Netflix has adapted Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan ( he wrote my favorite YA of all time, Everyday) and Rachel Cohn, I knew pronto that the time has come for me to watch other shows other than my favorite BL lol. I have read and enjoyed the book so it's a complete shoo-in! 

I immediately looked for my copy and feared that I might've lent it to anyone and it wasn't returned yet but ever since I adhered to The Home Edit to color-code my books, I easily spotted it in all its worn beauty, sandwiched between two favorite books, just like the red notebook of dares in the adaptation. If this is coincidental, I took no notice. I'd like to think that this is serendipitous such as when Dash found the notebook comfortably settling in the stacks of The Strand Bookstore in wintry New York City where the series was filmed. 

If you can get past the implausible premise of what're the odds and slim chances of ever finding a red notebook full of dares that will let you do and experience things you have not done and experienced before in The Strand which has '18 Miles of Books', then you know that's the Christmas magic working on you. 

When Dash recited the lyrics off of Joni Mitchell's sad Christmas ditty, River, as an indicated dare in the notebook, I was completely pulled in. In the next 7 episodes, I laughed and cried and felt warmth all over me like the feeling that you get on Christmas morning when you have gifts to open or even without anything as long as you are happy that you are together with your family. That's like a biggie but that's how I felt when I finished the show in sobbing, crying mess. 

Dash & Lily has everything that I like in a show, meaning all the trappings that made it work for me: both characters are misfits, they love books and can totally spend the day in the bookstore which I can totally relate and yes they both love River which is the very first song that I downloaded in my Spotify playlist as reinterpreted by Sarah Mclachlan. I mean, what's not to like? 

Don't worry, I am not going to spoil you on what's ahead but I hope that as you reach this point, you'll check the series out and allow yourselves to be swept away by the joy and cheer that this will bring you. Throw away your inner Ebenezer Scrooge and Buh Humbugs because you deserve this treat now. 

As for me, these details kept me glued from the first episode 'Dash' to the very last ' New Year's Day': 

1. The series started at The Strand Bookstore, which is like my top bookstore to visit! Recently, because of the coronovirus effects on businesses, The Strand has, for the first time, asked its loyal customers for support to keep their business from succumbing to bankruptcy. I hope this series benefits The Strand. I know I will if only I can. 

2. Since this is a holiday confection, it would be a disservice if this will not feature holiday songs!  Aside from the aforementioned River, fat sloppy tears came out of my eyes when Fairytale of New York played in the background in one of the episodes! WOW. Like from the start, the show has just won me over and over again! Since this was set in pre-Covid NYC, I also half expected the song New York (Handles Heartbreak Better) by Peg Pernavik since I feel that it will encapsulate Lily's 'heartbreak' better. And oh, let me tempt you to these interesting features about the two songs that I love dearly that I scoured from the Web. 

* ‘River,’ the ‘thoroughly depressing’ Joni Mitchell song that somehow became a Christmas classic



3. The series has full-on representation: Midori Francis (Lily)is of Japanese descent. Austin Abrams (Dash) is of Jewish descent. Lily's brother is gay in a very realistic gay relationship. I can go on forever! 

4. The inspiration behind Lily's great aunt name is one of my favorite Newbery-winning novels by E.L Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I made it my life mission to collect all the books stamped with the honor. 

5. There is a fake Pixar film called Collation in which a piece of paper and stapler fall in love. One of the characters is voiced by Gina Rodriguez who I adored in Jane The Virgin! 

6. Mrs. Basil mentioned the line 'No Pun Intended', which of course is the title of my book minus the 'No', lol. 

7. NEW YORK FREAKIN CITY. Need I say more? 

8. These are the books briefly mentioned and are essential to the deciphering of the codes leading to the first dares: French Pianism, Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe ( which I like) and wait for it, The Joy of Gay Sex! This is glorious!!

9. Dash favorite books are: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Zadie Smith's On Beauty and Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. The taste jumped hunty! 

So really, what's stopping you from bingeing Dash & Lily? You deserve to get out of the rabbithole of whatever you have at the moment. Here's a show that will potentially lift up your spirits even if the world outside is crushing down on you. 

And as Lily would put it, 'Do you dare?'

images: (netflix, strand, amazon.com)


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