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Saturday, June 12, 2021

‘Betty’ Season 2 Review: This Female Skate Crew Is Still on a Roll

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Season Two of Betty, the nice and cozy and irresistible HBO dramedy a couple of group of feminine skateboarder pals, was filmed and takes place in these chilly, harsh New York months when town was largely shut down because of the pandemic. On the one hand, this flip of occasions clears out the streets for the ladies to skate collectively, and the present’s creator and chief director Crystal Moselle takes full benefit, filming town with simply her characters rolling via it prefer it’s their very own playground. On the opposite hand, life throughout Covid makes it much more sophisticated for every member of the group to seek out what she’s searching for —  particularly since a lot of what these skaters care about exists in areas managed by males, now greater than ever.

It’s a messy state of actuality that former documentarian Moselle is well-equipped to seize. Parts of Season Two are a bit extra plot-driven, exhibiting the ladies chasing varied targets: Indigo (Ajani Russell) is hustling to repay a debt to her mom; Janay (Dede Lovelace) is trying to find a brand new indoor spot for them to skate; Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) is looking for extra respect for her skating by making social media movies for an attire firm. But a whole lot of it’s as earlier than, too — a vibe fairly than a narrative, the place we’re merely having fun with time with the group’s rambunctious id Kirt (Nina Moran) as she unexpectedly turns into a guru to their male pals, or seeing Honeybear (Moonbear) battle to grasp why her girlfriend needs to deliver a 3rd individual into their relationship.

Most of the character arcs are on some degree in regards to the non secular perils of promoting out, significantly in a system stacked towards these ladies, however the world and the characters are so finely etched that what occurs virtually at all times takes a again seat to the expertise of it. (You can take the documentary filmmaker out of the nonfiction world, however you possibly can’t at all times take the nonfiction really feel out of her work — which here’s a superb factor.)

As earlier than, Betty stays a mixture of mild comedy and unexpectedly potent drama. Kirt remains to be the first supply of guffaws, significantly as her classes to the skater boys about tips on how to deal with ladies higher go off the rails. (“You think anybody wants a dick pic?” she lectures them indignantly, earlier than pausing to confess, “Actually, some people do.”) But there’s additionally a storyline the place Indigo makes an attempt to change into a “sugar baby” — a younger lady who spends time with wealthy males in an unstated monetary association that doesn’t essentially require intercourse — that impressively walks a knife-edge between absurdity and darkness. And Janay’s quest to seek out an indoor skate area is generally performed for only-in-New-York humor, but has a beautiful payoff that additionally turns right into a hat-tip at Skate Kitchen, the 2018 movie the place Moselle and her ensemble forged of nonprofessional actors first launched variations of those characters. For essentially the most half, the stakes stay extremely low, but the emotional moments can sneak up on you. As Kirt places it in a uncommon severe second, “I’m just a person who has emotions that make me feel so damn much.”

“I’m over feeling like I have to prove myself to these people and to everybody,” says Camille, the member of the group who most cares about skating for its personal sake. She and her pals don’t have anything to show after two extremely charming seasons.

Season Two of Betty premieres June eleventh on HBO. I’ve seen all six episodes.

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