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The Change

The Change

An eccentric premise yields surprisingly profound results in this six-part comedy show

7.9

TV Show

United Kingdom
English
Comedy, Drama
2023
Bridget Christie, Monica Dolan

TLDR

What you get if you cross Midsommar with The Vicar of Dibley.

What it's about

Having just turned 50, newly menopausal Linda returns to a favorite haunt from her childhood — the ancient woodlands of the Forest of Dean — to rediscover herself.

The take

Initially, The Change’s premise might seem as eccentric as its kooky characters, but this comedy series set in ancient woods makes a compelling case for itself over six short episodes. When Linda (writer Bridget Christie) is diagnosed as menopausal, it triggers a flash of clarity: she’s tired of being reduced to “wife” and “mother.” Depressed by all her ledgers recording every second she’s spent doing unappreciated housework, Linda decides to reclaim a few thousand minutes, and takes off on her motorbike to the Forest of Dean to look for the time capsule of cherished belongings she hid there as a child following her mother’s death.

Because this motivation is only explained later, the show has a somewhat perplexing beginning, but a couple of episodes in, it finds its footing. The Change makes sharp punchlines out of boorish man-children — and, although it has varying success getting laughs out of its more bigoted characters, it does decenter them and dole out acceptance to the overlooked, making it refreshingly divergent from “topical” comedies’ usual flippancy. The spiritual link it draws between its apparently unrelated focuses — menopause and the natural environment — adds to its originality and empathy, making this a comedy of untypical thoughtfulness.

What stands out

Although the menopause would make a worthy subject on its own, The Change’s folksy backdrop and wacky forest community (played by a cast of British comedy and acting gems, including Paul Whitehouse and Monica Dolan) open it up to being something more urgent. To be clear, it doesn’t forget its comedy roots, but it’s also an ecofeminist meditation on the sacredness of nature — in both its tree and human forms — and the not-so-unrelated threats that disdain and entitlement (both capitalist and misogynistic) pose. What’s so compelling about The Change is the convincing case it makes: that the casual devaluation of the natural environment and of women (especially those over a certain age) are twin phenomena that, when explored in tandem, can yield mutually empowering results.

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