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‘Firefly Lane’: A blast from the past

| Monday, March 22, 2021

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to grow up in the ‘70s. I pictured listening to the Beatles while riding the “high of fighting for peace. But what if the fight for peace caused childhood trauma, leaving a mother so impaired that she couldn’t even function? World-famous journalist Tully Hart has first hand experience with abandonment and trauma as she navigates her life in “Firefly Lane.”

“Firefly Lane” takes place over a span of 30 years. Jumping from Tully’s childhood— more specifically, when she moves across the street from Kate Mularkey in the ‘70s— to their early careers in the ‘80s, and then to the pair’s messy adult lives in the early 2000s.

Each episode begins with a sequence we have never seen before, and the cinematography is fantastic as the show jumps between each of these time periods, filling in missing pieces of the story as it progresses. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, all of which are literally so surprising that my boyfriend and I both end up screaming in distress and frantically pressing “Next Episode” to find out more.

“Firefly Lane” also explores a lot of topical societal issues such as rape, homophobia and patriarchy, doing so in a creative way that demonstrates continuity between our current culture and that of the ‘80s. In doing so, the show not only calls attention to issues that were ignored in their own time, but calls us to continue to fight for long-overdue change in 2021, some 40 years later.

If this is all sounding a bit too serious, don’t worry: “Firefly Lane” contains many moments of comic relief that made me chuckle. For example, hearing the characters talk about their technology is hilarious. As someone who has apparently just missed the cutoff for being a millennial, I still feel old when I remember old Nintendos or flip phones, and how I thought that they were the coolest things ever. Not to mention Kate’s boss, Kimber, and her criticisms of online dating. At one point, she complains that “no one can have a face-to-face conversation anymore.” Oh Kimber … if only you knew what was to come.

Kate Mularkey’s character, played by Sarah Chalke, is also something of a masterpiece. Even the character’s name is a play on words. Any time she says something crazy or has done something that deviates from her “goodie-two-shoes” personality, other characters will shout “Mularkey!” as if her idea or what she’s done is truly a bunch of malarkey. Kate’s life is also something of a drama as she navigates the divorce of her insanely attractive husband, Johnny— played by Ben Lawson—and raising a teenage daughter. While Tully is technically the protagonist, Kate is the method behind Tully’s madness. Without Kate, we can only assume Tully would’ve gone down the same path as her mother.

“Firefly Lane” is a must watch. With only 10 episodes in the first season, it’s easy to binge. Despite the fact that I am not the biggest fan of Katherine Heigl, I will say that she portrays Tully’s dramatic life exceptionally well. The hurt Tully experiences in her childhood, especially from her relationship with her mother, follows her into her adulthood, and the viewer cannot help but feel emotionally attached as she appears to travel down her own path of self-destruction.

Show: “Firefly Lane

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke, Ben Lawson

Favorite episodes: “Hello Yellow Brick Road” and “Love is a Battlefield”

If you like: “Dead to Me;” “Grey’s Anatomy” (only because Tully is so much like Izzie)

Where to watch: Netflix

Shamrocks: 5/5

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About Lexi Kilcoin

Lexi is an aspiring journalist studying Creative Writing at Saint Mary's and is apart of the Journalism program at Notre Dame. She loves all things The Office and is sure to start a conversation with anyone she meets.

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