Not A Review Of “The Umbrella Academy”

So the other day I decided to check out The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s new show about a (sort-of) super-hero team slash (definitely) dysfunctional family that is reunited by the death of their adoptive father and then has to avert an oncoming apocalypse, which is scheduled to occur in a week or so.

My wife had already started to drift off in the middle of an episode of Russian Doll, a different Netflix show which she is sort of quasi-interested in (“We could just watch Groundhog Day again. It was funnier.”), so, knowing she would likely be 0% interested in The Umbrella Academy, I decided to switch over to that instead. But it was a little bit louder than Russian Doll (to say the least) and drew her attention again briefly.

Wife (peering at TV): “What happened to―”
Me: “This is a different show.”
Wife: “Oh, okay.”

She watched Umbrella Academy long enough for me to point out the most prominent cast member.

Me: “Ellen Page is in this you might recognize her.”
Wife (examines Ellen Page): “Nope.”
Me: “She’s been in lots of movies that we’ve seen, but most recently, she was on Colbert’s show telling Mike Pence to stop.”
Wife: “Oh, yeah. I remember that.”

Still, despite the presence of Ellen Page and her super-power (which would be her acting ability), as expected, The Umbrella Academy put my wife to sleep more or less immediately.

But then one of the characters put on a record.

Wife (not opening eyes): “I know this music.”

She did indeed know that music. In fact she recognized it before I did, and I was fully awake.

Wife: “Yep, I know this music.”

And so she woke up long enough to watch the remaining members of The Umbrella Academy team do a little dance to “I Think We’re Alone Now” (which was, quite frankly, better than the original official video), and then promptly went back to sleep.

So the key to getting her to watch a show, then, might be to liberally score it with 1980s musical tracks; except that didn’t work at all for Glow. So perhaps the key is to have the 1980s music, but also not to have your show be about ladies’ wrestling or super-heroes. Maybe it’s a Spandex thing.

Oh, speaking of 80s songs, the show features a pretty good cover of the 1987 hit Bangles* song “Hazy Shade of Winter”. This version is performed by Gerard Way, formerly of My Chemical Romance, and who is also one of the progenitors of the original Umbrella Academy comic book on which the Netflix series is (apparently loosely) based.

Hmph, rock star and comic book progenitor. Another one of those overachievers.

* Yes, I’m calling this a cover of the Bangles song, and not a cover of the original by Simon & Garfunkel, because it sounds waaaay more like theirs. But okay fine, technically it’s a cover of Simon & Garfunkel.

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