It’s a Netflix show, so much like Russian Doll and You and, er, most Netflix shows, it’s made to be watched in the background while you also scroll through your phone. It’s also probably pretty sure it’s a lot smarter than it is. This is Netflix.
Starring Adrian Grenier (Entourage) – though to say he ‘stars’ is affording him and the show a bit too much credit – Clickbait does hook you in with a mildly intriguing premise. Nick has been kidnapped. He’s there (somewhere) holding up a sign that says he abuses women. And that if the video he appears in – mildly beaten up, hangdog expression – gets five million views he will die.
I figured this was something.
A bit of a comment on cancel culture, on Twitter’s ugly pile-on force. I dunno. Wait and see – but hopefully this would go somewhere. And the first episode was pretty tight. Intriguing.
Look, I was happy to get on board with the fact that his sister just basically becomes a detective. I didn’t even mind that the journalistic ethics of blind eye-turning editors while ‘investigative’ reporters broke in to apartments and stole evidence was millions of miles away from reality. And that online news sites had big fancy offices and weren’t just run out of basements. None of this mattered. It’s TV after all. Entertainment.
I’d been tipped off that it is very ‘twisty’ and ‘turny’. I hoped – big time – that this was a good thing. But I should have seen that for the alarm bell that it is. Convoluted Mess is actually what it (usually) means when someone tells you that a show twists and turns. Logic is biffed out the window in the aim of just five million views. And then many more on top of that.
Clickbait tries to be clever by taking you through the story from slightly different angles, each episode arrives under the title of a different character – so it’s their story. The Wife. The Mistress. The Sister. Etc.
The portrait we get is of Nick as a secret, dirty double-life no-good scoundrel. He’s ‘happily’ married but he online-dates. Using more than one profile too. He is cold and calculated. But also his wife has had an affair. So is that what set him off? Or is that at least reason for us to not feel too bad for her as she carries on trying to hold it all together – since we find out that Nick is actually dead by the second episode.
I should have known that the unfolding backstory would not work. I should have walked away. But Clickbait had me – as seemingly perfect Lockdown TV. It breezes by while you’re watching it (a clue that it’s empty as a pocket). And though there’s roughly 147 million other choices (and I still haven’t ever seen The Wire) I chose to nestle in and complete this show. I mean, what else was I gonna do…
A few more twists and turns of course. Some okay. Some slightly baffling but we’ll carry on. And then – eventually – the biggest, dumbest dog-turd of a bait and switch.
First off – there’s a scene of Nick (Grenier) running away to try to get safe. And it’s from his perspective. He’s the only one in the scene. But we already know he’s dead. But then we get his flashback. His thinking. His plan for what comes next – but we can’t know this. So this can’t happen. How fucking stupid. This is like one of those It was all a dream-endings you write into your story when you are eight years old.
This is a scriptwriting 101 no-no.
But guess what? I carried on watching.
So I deserved what I got. And boy did I get a lump of coal disguised as a Christmas present.
He’s also suffering from head trauma but has a perfect memory of where to go – and instant recall (finally) of how he’s ended up in this pickle. Um, lol!?
Turns out Nick’s fake profiles were all created by his lonely assistant. You see she had set up his passwords. But, um, yeah, without wanting to stereotype – it’s just far more likely that he would have to show her how to create a password rather than the other way around.
So lonely old lady starts catfishing cos she’s bored. And ruins not only this man’s life. And his family’s. But also my fucking weekend!