Off The Hook (Détox) is a French-language Netflix original comedy series about best friends and cousins Léa (Tiphaine Daviot) and Manon (Manon Azem) who, after far too long of going through it, decide to do a total digital detox for one month. No phones, no internet, and no going back. Their challenge to one another gets their whole family riled up as their digital addictions come to bear.
This series admittedly took a little bit to warm up for me. Léa and Manon are quite hard to like at first, and if they’re hard to like, just wait until you meet the rest of their selfish family. But once the ball got rolling and I became acquainted with their eccentricities, I found myself laughing at most turns and quite enjoying the show as a whole. Off The Hook has strong writing and even stronger comedic acting. It’s just a bit misbalanced as a series, not giving us enough of the secondary characters earlier on and coming on a bit strong at first. But with some quite creative directing, camera work, and use of graphics that vary from episode to episode, it winds up feeling like one of Netflix’s more unique comedies of late.
Daviot has some pretty impressive physical acting chops in this show. Her facial expressions are constantly all over the place and her blocking is reminiscent of old-timey physical comedy in the way that she is just all over the place on screen. It’s easily one of the most entertaining and funniest aspects of the show. Much funnier than some of the repeated and tired pieces of commentary on husbands being unattentive and the source of all misery that permeates much of the show.
The detox at the center of the show comes in and out of focus a bit inconsistently as well, which adds to my feeling of whiplash around the frantic pace of the show’s happenings. It’s not that the subject by any means makes or breaks the show. It’s almost nice in a way that you start to forget about it as time goes on and the characters learn to live their lives perfectly happily without their phones. It’s simply a feeling of inconsistency.
When the detox does take center stage, it’s definitely a bit more of a nuanced take on the poison of technology than the average. The detox leads to some particularly funny moments for Léa and Manon, including a completely absurd and unexpected entire episode at a creepy detox camp. But it’s really what it reveals about the other people in their lives that feels the most interesting. The ways it unveils their own addictions and the number of ways that social media and constantly being tethered to smartphones impedes our lives feels pretty poignant from time to time. I only wish this central piece of the show received a bit more overt attention throughout to feel like it was completely rounded out.
Nonetheless, when the show is forgetting its original conceit and just focuses on relationships and work, it’s still just as good. I didn’t expect it from how I felt at the beginning of the show, but I wound up rooting really hard for the central characters (and rooting really hard against some of the more irritating ones). None of the side plots with the various family members ever feel like they’re in the way of anything else or that the main plot or characters are being sidelined. It helps really flesh the show out and makes some of the later moments carry much more weight. I just ultimately wish some of those pieces began being seeded sooner in the episode count to perhaps help with the slightly off pacing.
Ultimately, Off The Hook is a really creatively directed, funny, and slightly more nuanced than the average exploration of life in our digital age. It suffers from some pacing issues that make it feel a bit all over the place, but that manic state it mostly rides through is also part of the timbre of the show as a whole in the end that winds up working for it.
Off The Hook is streaming now on Netflix.
Off The Hook
Off The Hook is a really creatively directed, funny, and slightly more nuanced than average exploration of life in our digital age. It suffers from some pacing issues that make it feel a bit all over the place, but that manic state it mostly rides through is also part of the timbre of the show as a whole in the end that winds up working for it.