Published Aug 17, 2020North American audiences mostly known David Tennant for his role as the sadistic wizard Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, or as the sadistic wizard Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Back home in the UK, however, he's known for a lot more than just sadistic wizardry, and There She Goes is a particularly empathetic performance from the actor.
There She Goes, now in its second season, follows the Yates family and their daughter Rosie (Miley Locke), whose undiagnosed chromosomal disorder means that she requires constant attention and is mostly non-verbal. Tennant plays her dad Simon; he drinks a bit too much and is maybe a little too close with his friend Helen, but his wry wisecracks help to cut the tension caused by Rosie's outbursts. Mom Emily (Jessica Hynes) is doting but frequently at the end of her rope, while older brother Ben (Edan Hayhurst) is overlooked in favour of his high-maintenance sister.
The five-episode season has tunnel vision: nearly every scene features Rosie front-and-centre, with topics ranging from her destructive behaviour at a pub quiz to the difficulty of finding a childcare centre that can accommodate her unique needs. The episodes offer 30-minute glimpses into just how stressful and overwhelming it is to be a parent for a kid like Rosie: she spends nearly every moment screaming and smashing framed pictures, and even a quiet family vacation becomes a string of catastrophes.
The show bounces back and forth across a decade, showing Rosie as a young child and as a preteen. There's not much of an overarching narrative, just vignettes of her life, and the episodes could easily be shuffled into a different order without anything seeming amiss.
It might be nice to see a little more of the Yates's life away from Rosie. In particular, Ben is mostly ignored, and it's not until the second half of the final episode that we finally get a glimpse into his own needs and emotions. Even when Rosie isn't on-screen, her presence still looms over every moment — like when Simon drinks and smokes alone in the backyard, or when Emily tries to talk the neighbour into babysitting for an evening.
But if the characters in There She Goes sometimes lack much of a personality beyond their relationship with Rosie, that's perhaps an accurate reflection of what it's like to be a parent to a child with such intense needs. Creator/writer Shaun Pye would certainly know, since the show is based on his own experiences having a daughter with a chromosomal disorder. As a reflection of the stresses (and rewards) of being a parent to a child with a severe learning disability, There She Goes is a compelling slice of life. (BritBox)