Is Dash and Lily too Cliché?

Staff writer Allie D’Amato reviews Dash and Lily, a new Netflix original series


Photo from IMBD

A cliché Christmas love story that made me lose the little faith I had left Netflix’s production quality. The new Netflix series, Dash and Lily, was released on the platform on Nov. 10, with eight 25-minute episodes. It tells the tale of two strangers, Dash and Lily, who develop an unconventional romance through a shared notebook, and I was extremely disappointed, to say the least.  

There were a myriad of problems that I was able to pick apart while watching this series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big sucker for corny romance movies; but this series failed to follow a consistent plotline, and I never was able to empathize with the characters. Dash and Lily are depicted to be the typical angsty guy and innocent girl dynamic. Their whole romantic relationship is driven by a “game” they play with a red notebook; they are never allowed to see each other, but rather, use the notebook as a form of communication to dish out feelings and send each other on adventures. Throughout their exchanges of the notebook, there was supposed to be a deep love and understanding that each of them started to feel. Though a bit of a creepy concept, I thought the “notebook storyline” had the potential to foster character growth and create some sort of unspoken connection between the main characters. But, to my dismay, it served to be completely useless as Dash and Lily’s relationship ultimately remained superficial. 

The messages that Dash and Lily were able to write to each other did not provide any insight into their personalities, and the so-called “dares” they challenged each other to were completely idiodic. At one point, Lily sent Dash to make mochi, which was a simple task that he was unable to execute, as she instructed him to “listen to his mochi.” I was dumbfounded and confused when she uttered that phrase with no context, thinking “What does that even mean?” and “Why is that relevant?” Dash and Lily were robbed from an authentic friendship, as it felt more like banter between them two, rather than philosophical discussions about each other’s lives. When they finally saw each other in person, there was no spark; I thought it felt forced and awkward. They never truly got to know each other, and consequently, viewers never got to truly know them either. I didn’t care about any conflicts or outcomes. I wasn’t entertained, and I wasn’t rooting for their relationship because they gave me nothing to root for. 

Another big problem regarded the overwhelming subplots introduced throughout the series. There were so many minor conflicts that kept appearing and drawing attention away from the main storyline. Lily’s brother’s deteriorating relationship, Lily’s relationship with her grandfather, Dash’s ex-girlfriend, Dash’s relationship with his father, and (the most half witted of them all) the potential prospect that Lily had to move to Fiji in 5 days were among the small conflicts that Netflix tried to include in a mere 8 episodes. Personally I felt that these events were all rushed in order to keep under that 25-minute mark, and they just added more convolution to the already underdeveloped dynamic between Dash and Lily. 

Finally, the aspect that most concerned me was the suffocating exaggeration from the actors. There was nothing natural about their performance, and frankly, I didn’t think the actors had any sort of chemistry. Yes, I do recognize that this is a PG show that centers around the holidays, and there’s bound to be some enthusiasm. But this was just overbearing. Primarily Lily, and a supporting character Edgar, took the “quirky” narrative too far. To put it quite bluntly, I hated watching every second of their scenes in the later episodes. 

All things considered, it was a typical Netflix “feel-good”, holiday series. Taking into account all of the other Netflix Christmas films, I don’t know why I expected this one to be any better. My advice: save your time, and go watch The Office instead before it gets taken down in January.