Join us as we review the Amazon series Undone. We follow Alma, 28-year-old Alma who is generally unhappy and wants to know more about her father’s death. We watch her try to pull down her loved ones who want the best for her. We also discuss the really cool use of rotoscope animation.
Undone is a half-hour, genre-bending, animated dramedy that explores the elastic nature of reality through its central character, Alma, a twenty-eight-year-old living in San Antonio, Texas. After getting into a car accident and nearly dying, Alma finds she has a new relationship to time. She develops this new ability in order to find out the truth about her father’s death.
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Welcome to The Pilot Podcast
Where we watch the pilot episodes of TV shows and the answer your question should I watch this.
My name is Mitu.
My name is BJ.
And this week we're watching the Amazon Prime animated drama Undone
So stay tuned to find that means whose life is coming undone in an animated way
Kind of. I have a trip in the morning and I haven't packed for it yet and I tend to pack very early so I do feel a little Undone.
Well I hope you go about your night and a better way then Alma and her sister did.
I know I will.
That's good. That's good.
So let's get into this pilot episode. Beej what happened?
So on Undone or introduced to our main character Alma Winograd Diaz, and she is in her late 20s. And feeling like her life has become very mundane, waking up eating, going to work, same commute every day, coming home to what seems to be a happy relationship, but she's bored. And eventually she meets up with her sister Becca and finds out that her sister is now engaged. Becca is very happy about her new life, Alma - mmm she's a little mixed on it. She thinks that she and her family are broken. This probably has to do with some details that we're missing right now about her father who passed away. And ultimately, we see a lot of events leading up to Alma meeting up with Becca and her fiance's family, and then ultimately going out with Becca and pushing her to make some poor choices. And they disappointed their mother multiple times.
Their poor mother, who has dealt with this potentially shady figure in their father, Alma's mess. And Becca,
They're broken people.
That was a synopsis of the show. The end. So I'm curious about your reaction to the show, because for me, it was just so dark. And I was not at all surprised that the people behind this show also worked on BoJack Horseman, which is another animated show that uses kind of fantastical animation to drive some really sad points home about the human condition.
Yeah, so I didn't know that about the show runners before watching it. But I do think it makes a lot of sense now that they use animated storytelling in order to really explore human personalities, human conditions, and these kind of broken aspects of lives that people don't talk about as often and especially in an animated form.
I'm not sad about my life, but I am 28 years old, and it was a little triggering when she was like, I wake up every day next to the same person go to the same job. You know, brush my teeth at the same time have the same breakfast, although I personally like to switch up my breakfast. But I did identify with choosing the right beans at the store.
Yeah, which of these two cans do I buy? The cheaper one, the one without salt? everything kind of seems the same.
It's actually a trick question. You should always get the bag of dry beans. It's cheaper, cook them yourself, then you don't have to worry about the sodium. So now we're officially the 28 year olds that Alma hates. [Both laugh]
Interesting also is her being so disappointed in all aspects of her life. But it seems like her boyfriend Sam is a really great non broken character. I guess I need to know more about her to understand why Sam hasn't like brightened up her life.
Or what about her drew Sam, because
He strikes me as such an optimistic person. So the central trauma of the show and this isn't a spoiler is that her father is dead. And because of that, and potentially other reasons, she considers herself a broken person. She has an incredibly dark approach to life has a pretty good dark outlook. And Sam is the opposite of that he is so happy and counters everything she says with what if we looked at it on the positive side of things, and I wonder if he met her before her father died or before she underwent some sort of trauma and stuck with her through that because I just don't even know what their first date would be about.
So I believe she said her father died like a long time ago before she was like even old enough to really understand.
Hmm, I missed that.
But you bring up another good point her sister mentions that she didn't finish school so there probably was another trauma that Sam might have been around for.
Yeah, and the dynamic I get between her and Sam is remember that song between Plankton and Sponge Bob was like "F is for friends that do stuff together." And he's like "n is for nuclear war!" And that is the vibe I get from Sam and Alma.
I see that especially when they were in bed after Becca got engaged.
He was like he never know what could happen. We could be happy married family in the future. And she's just like, No, no, no, no, no, I'm gonna do something to annoy you.
Speaking of Becca's engagement, I liked that Alma is allowed to be such an unlikable character, at least at the beginning of this because we often don't get to see women be unlikable and still be the central people on the show. And this show seems to be very centered around her existence. And so when she showed up and showed out at Beckett's party, I personally was frustrated by that. But I was like, "go ahead Alma be unlikable." I'm curious about your take on the relationship between Alma and Becca, because there seemed to be at the root of her rebellion, just a fear over losing her sister.
Yeah, I agree. And I think Becca even joked about that being the younger one to kind of get married first and start to be unbroken before anyone else in the family. And it seems like while we definitely see on the show how much she loves her sister, she kind of wants to pull her sister down to this dark, unhappy state with her. So she's not alone.
Yeah, it feels like she does that with Sam to not that this is the best thing for everyone. But he wants a more traditional trajectory for their relationship of kids and long term partnership or whatever. And on some level, she wants that to, I think,
She really loves him.
She just doesn't think she can offer that right now.
So instead of trying to work on herself to work toward that, or whatever other version of happiness that would work in her relationship, she distances herself from Sam. And in the same way instead of working on herself and trying to figure out her relationship with Becca and maybe come toward her level of starting to move on from some traumas she's trying to bring, like you said, Becca down to where she is and her little misery pit.
Mhmm, so unfair, and rude and mean.
Yeah, I hope that in the journey of this show, one of the themes I hope is self improvement.
I feel like she can only go up from here.
Facts. That's true. [Both Laugh] In a few ways, that's very true without giving too much away. But one of the other themes of this show that we know will come up because it's in the premise of the show. We didn't see it in this pilot episode as much is that there's going to be some element of time travel.
Yes. So viewers, if you watch the pilot, you will see that we saw two very similar car crashes and the episode and we won't say any more than that.
So would you abuse time travel?
I know you would.
For the sake of humanity.
For example, I think I would be responsible with my time travel.
You'd be nervous of messing things up.
I would be very nervous. You - we've talked about this on the show before. I am all in on the butterfly effect. I haven't seen that movie, because I love myself, but I'm all in on that concept.
So I feel like I would maybe at 10:59pm time travel to like 1105. To learn the winning numbers, come back to 10:59pm. Write the winning numbers, submit the ticket just in time, win some money, and then do as the real housewives say, my philanthropies and enjoy my wealth. I would work very hard to forget I even had it. The power.
So you're a one and done get your like lump sum winnings, and then live a life of charity to repent for anything you may have broken in the universe.
one hit wonder
I would you know, win the lottery, I would go back in time and change some things.
You would change things?
Yeah, but see, I'd really have to sit down and think about my life. Like I didn't keep journals, which would have made this so much easier if I kept a journal of my life. So I'd know what day to go back to
OOOH in the rules of time travel, could you go back to like four year old you and be like, "Hey, don't be weirded out. Just keep a journal." Like really impress upon them.
Don't tell your parents I'm here. And then poof!
And then jump back.
And then when I come back, I have all these journals. But then I probably read the journals and my life would be different.
Yeah, it would.
See the thing is if I change my life, or people close to my life, it's probably like one solid change, or it's all different.
What would you do for me?
Don't worry, whatever change will affect you.
Unknown Speaker 9:39
Ooooh the look you just gave me. [Both laugh] I know you're thinking of you and you alone. Understood. Meanwhile...
I'm sure whatever I do will affect you.
That's true. I don't doubt it. I've spent way too much time with you.
So there you go.
Man, I hope you don't get the power to time travel.
I'm not gonna hurt anybody. I have a question. If you weren't miserable, like Alma, would you try and pull me down? If I was the Becca in our friendship.
That's tough, because I've never been that unhappy.
Okay, imagine you're that unhappy.
It's difficult to say, because I generally am a pretty positive person. And even when I'm in a bad mood, I do that thing where I just act even happier to sort of trick the inside into being happier. So I just couldn't see myself getting to that place. I mean, not to good deep, but like i if I'm when I'm really sad, I just isolate myself. So I don't know that I would bring anyone down.
Okay, that's good to know. Thank you.
Yeah, of course. What about you?
I don't know, it depends how sad I am. [Both laugh] Maybe I'd isolate myself, maybe I'd want other people to be sad, not long term. But I can see Alma wanting someone to at least experience for a moment, her own level of sadness and darkness. And like I said, I think you can tell she loves her sister. So I don't think she wants to like ruin her sister's life. She just doesn't want to be around this happy person all the time,
Which can be tough. When you're really sad, that can be annoying. And there are organizations like Active Minds like Jed Foundation, actually, Jed Foundation, American Society for Suicide Prevention and Adweek created this a website called seizetheawkward.org and it basically teaches you how to have the conversation about mental health with a friend if you're struggling or if you think they're struggling. And it just teaches you how to embrace and push past the awkward to get to the conversation. And Active Minds has this really great guide called VAR. And those are the tips for how to talk to someone who is struggling. So v-a-r is validate, appreciate, refer because the most important thing you can do when a friend is struggling is validate their emotions and then you appreciate what they're experiencing and then refer so an example is like "this resource online helped me."
So speaking of what Alma is going through, it seems like the quest for more about her father is going to be a big part of her journey. What do you see lying ahead in terms of that storyline?
Oh, I was gonna ask you for predictions because I didn't want to share any and feel silly. For her father, I can't tell if he is also a time traveler.
So if they are doing it together, and maybe he's like some kind of time traveling angel who will help her set her on a better course than where she ended up, which we can all agree is she's not happy with it. Or if this is, as I like to say on How Did This Get Made, a Jacob's Ladder situation where she died in that car crash and this has all been a dream.
I am leaning more towards the second.
Maybe not that battery dies in the car crash but I believe anytime she's going to come across or interact with her father, that'll probably be a hallucination of some sort.
Only because and this is a tiny spoiler listeners, we see her father for a moment. And the image we see matches a picture that Alma had looked at earlier in the episode.
I had not connected that so it could be a figment of the last striking memory she had.
Oh, Undone. You done done it.
But she could also be undoing time and history in her life to find out what happened to her dad.
Real because now that we're in light, light spoiler land, the picture that BJ is referring to is of her father smoking and she didn't know her father smoked. And so she got into a bit of an argument with her mom asking "what else do I not know about him?" And so I wonder if there are going to be bigger secrets because smoking is not that huge a revelation like presumably these are children of an era in which everyone smoked.
So Mitu. What did you think of the animation style in Undone?
I thought it was kind of weird, but it was odd in a way that conveyed the emotion of the show because it was hyper realistic and not at the same time. I don't know how to explain it.
Well, let me explain it.
Okay, go ahead.
It's called wrote a roto-scoping.
Oh, okay. roto- o-scoop this.
And the reason it was so realistic is because they actually film the show, like a normal Well, not film. It's all digital nowadays.
But they film the show. And then they trace over all of the images. So we're just seeing the outlines of real people's faces.
That makes sense, because some of the people we saw on the show, I recognized immediately, not just because of their voices. I felt like their characters really reflected them.
Yeah, so let's just kind of like you take a picture of someone put some nice little bold outlines around them, and then paint their skin boom, animated version of an actor.
That's why the cartoon version of that dude from Being Mary Jane looked so good. Sam felt more realistic than the rest.
Yeah, the roto scoping, I guess didn't affect him as much. I don't know if that's because of his darker skin tone, or what
It felt like you, BJ, were just in that show, walking around cartoon world trying to figure things out
[Sam's a] positive person, so maybe he's supposed to seem out of place.
I know we're feeding way too deeply into this. But he had fewer of those lines and edges on his face. So maybe it's like he's not as lined or marred or affected as the rest of the characters. I know. We're giving it a lot. And I know this is not it. But that's what I'm going to tell myself and our listeners
And he had like fewer shadows all over his face. So less like weighing down on him.
We can really stretch this metaphor out.
I am in my yoga pants and stretching. I'm ready.
So you ready to go into our ratings for Amazon's Undone?
Yeah, I'm ready to rate let's do it. Beej, what would you give this show?
I would give this show would watch again, seriously.
Just to preface why I'm giving it a serious versus a casual. It's a half hour show. Our loyal listeners know me and Mitu love half hour shows. And it's only eight episodes. So a smaller commitment. And I really want to see what we learn about Alma's father and what that has to do with the car crash. Will we actually find out what happens after the car crash?
I'm in a similar boat. There was enough in the pilot episode that I'm excited to learn what's next. The only thing I would warn our listeners about is make sure you're in the right mood. For example, if I binge BoJack Horseman, I sometimes get really sad because I soak up the sadness of the show. And I know this show is shorter, there are fewer episodes, but make sure you have maybe something fun to do after or a romantic comedy or something to distract you after or break it up just something for your mood, because I could tell that this show is super interesting and going to be super interesting. But it could just be a bit of a downer. Quality, but a downer.
Don't let Alma pull you down too much.
Ooh, that's the theme of the episode. Don't let her pull you down to her level.
Exactly. Well, guys, before we wrap things up, we have an exciting announcement, we now have a Patreon page, you guys can support The Pilot Podcast and we're going to be offering a lot of cool exclusive content, we actually have some lost episodes that are no longer available on our feed. And we will be giving some of those out to our patrons. We'll be doing some exclusive polls for our patrons so you guys can help decide what shows will be reviewing in the future. We're still going to take listener recommendations.
We will take everyone's recommendations seriously. But we do appreciate a poll because it is just easier to interpret than the emails in our inbox.
Yeah. And it's good to know what the majority want to hear next.
And Mitu's can actually develop some merchandise for The Pilot Podcast.
Yes. And I'm so excited for us all to be in our matching pilot pod shirts, totes, have our matching mugs. And maybe we'll do some polls for what you want. Like those pop socket things on iPhones, I've just always wanted to match clothes with BJ and he typically does not allow it. So I love the idea of us being forced to look alike. The entire Pilot Podcast community can all be dressed alike. Now I sound like I'm recruiting for a cult. It's going to be fun.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai