About a month and a half ago, Keshet 12’s drama series “Third Person” aired for the first time, and really? She left me with quite a few expectations for the sequel. Although even then I felt (and I am quoting myself) “poor energy, an atmosphere of desperation and a distressed feeling”, I also saw in her the beauty of authenticity that does not come to play games and also shows the painful sides of life.
Her season has passed and eight whole episodes are already behind us. On the face of it, the series garnered excellent ratings, won awards at the French “Siris Mania” festival and became a topic of conversation in every corridor I passed. And yet, I must stick to my integrity and tell you about all the less good thoughts that came to my mind while watching the series, which for me at the time was “an accurate mirror through which life’s difficulties are reflected”, and unfortunately got a twist in the plot and became inflated and tiresome that made me want to shout at the TV: “Maybe Enough?!?!!?”.
For those who are not closed on the details, “Third Person” unfolds the story of the married couple Ido and Eli Abrahami (Yehuda Levy and Rotem Sela), who encountered difficulties in bringing a child into the world. After five years of fertility treatments and four abortions, the two realize that there is no escape from a surrogacy procedure and turn to outside help. At this point, Chen Ben Atar enters (Gal Malka), a single mother of a ten-year-old boy and Yaniv’s ex (Itay Turgeman), that due to a difficult financial situation she lives with her son with her father Felix (Morris Cohen) and decides to become a surrogate in order to restore her family. The character of Tomer Hamo also enters the picture (Lior Raz), “the tormented writer” who works together with Eli on his book, and at the same time develops a prickly relationship with her that turns into a strange romance.
Before I start criticizing the series from all directions, I will start with your permission with a quick reference to the not very successful casting of the series. For starters, Yehuda Levy and Rotem Sela are, on the one hand, undoubtedly gifted actors, but on the other hand, they have been deep in our consciousness for so many years that it seems that all they can do from now on is be Yehuda Levy and Rotem Sela. To prove my point, jog your memory and try to test yourself, did you call them throughout the series Ido Vali? And don’t answer me.
The second problem in my view is the choice of Lior Raz as the dramatic and frustrated writer, which really doesn’t connect to who he is. As far as I was concerned, I just wanted him to pull out a gun and kill someone, or suddenly start speaking Arabic and become a combat undercover. Chen Malka actually suited me very well for the character she was chosen to portray and proved that she belongs in the league of the greats, but even in this case I will have more to say.
The truth is, it disgusts me to write these words. I so wanted “Third Person” to sweep me away and also show me the half-empty glass of life that is usually filled with the plots of series. But something about the sense of explosion, anger and roboticity of the characters in the script made it difficult for me to direct my interest in the series to a sympathetic place and caused me some cringe moments where I closed my eyes in view of the events and a feeling of discomfort passed through me.
Throughout the series, I tried episode after episode to give it a real chance, and at the end of every 50 minutes of watching I went back to the “notes” app on my phone and shot everything I felt. Here are some quotes from the moments of truth: “There is no flow”, “Texts are spoken”, “The constant frustration of each character makes it difficult for me to connect with them”, “Everyone is offended all the time”, “There is not a single second of stopping the endless difficulty loop in order to see the The good sides of the story”, “Rabek, you have a child – be a little happy” and the list goes on…
And to be more specific, I will refer for a moment to the upheaval that Ellie’s character goes through, who absorbs negative attitudes from all directions, makes all the possible mistakes and still maintains an annoying composure. How about a little yelling or falling apart? Is it no longer fashionable to get out of the tools in 2023? And besides that, many of the relationships between the characters are based on a distant lack of communication that creates an even deeper rift between all the participants (oops, sounds like I was talking about the political situation). In such a case, when everyone is playing “broken phone” or “who will be more silent”, there is really no room for solutions.
I wanted a painful series that would dig into the deep wounds, that would hurt my heart and make me understand the real difficulty of people who are in similar shoes to those of the characters in “Third Person”. Instead I got an extreme series in her responses, which blows everything out of proportion and lets life itself fall apart just because of ego. When none of the characters is ready to come down from the tree in order to compromise, the valley of equality does not arrive nor is it passed on to the viewers, and the extremism on both sides is alienating and divisive. We saw it in the streets last week.
And it’s true, my opinion is my opinion and many with whom I discussed the subject chose not to agree with me and testified about the series, according to their personal taste, that it is “overwhelming” or “shaking”. And it was also renewed for a second season and won awards and the like. But I didn’t find in her the spark I was looking for, I didn’t see in her a “do”, but only a “don’t do”. It’s also a lesson, but come on, who wants to learn like that?