Film Review

I Saw the TV Glow

todayMay 25, 2024 10

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By – Nick Adrian

For fans of 90s TV, nostalgia, and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

If a television show has ever consumed your life, you know fully well the amount of lore and rabbitholes to go down are abundant. Your every thought is spent trying to figure out plot points, guessing what might happen next, and your schedule depends on when the next new episode airs.

This is how teengers Owen (Justice Smith) and Maddy (Bridget Lundy-Paine) feel about the *fictional* show The Pink Opaque, a Buffy The Vampire Slayer-esque show in which two teens with psychological powers fight monsters of the week. But while television’s most ardent fans are content returning to reality once the credits roll, Owen and Maddy feel a bit more connected to their obsession.I Saw the TV Glow follows Owen’s infatuation with The Pink Opaque as he uses it as coping mechanism for his melancholy, his mother’s death, and his shifting feelings of disconnection. Due to his father’s insistence that it’s a “show for girls,” Maddy sneaks tapes of episodes to Owen and eventually tries to convince him to leave town with her. He backs out, only to discover that Maddy has gone missing and that The Pink Opaque has been canceled. A few years later, Maddy mysteriously returns, claiming she’s been inside the world of the television show all this time – causing Owen to wonder if he has been as well.

Much like in their first feature We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, director Jane Schroeburn tackles themes of nostalgia, obsession, and perhaps most emphatically, identity and dysphoria. Throughout the run of the film, which spans over twenty years, Owen’s self esteem remains lwo and his sense of loss and unbelonging increases to an all-time high, even after starting a family of his own. Though Maddy’s claims sound ridiculous, he can’t help but identify with the show’s characters more than with those in his own life. His ultimate decision to not join Maddy when she runs away doesn’t only haunt him indefinitely, it encases him in a stagnant purgatory of his own…a life not lived to the fullest and ultimately a waste.


I Saw the TV Glow is now playing at the Sidewalk Cinema.

Written by: Nick Adrian

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