Merlí is a comedy-drama show produced and recorded in Catalonia, Spain. In the style of “Dead Poets Society“, it tells the story of a philosophy teacher in a public secondary school that opens his students minds and makes them question things in a very unortodox way.
The philosophy teacher, named Merlí Bergeron, is forced to live with his mother at the same time his son Bruno, with whom he does not have a very good relationship, has to move in with him (and also be his student).
In every episode we learn about a new philosopher, such as Foucault, Schopenhauer or Descartes. I know what you may think: it’s just a show with a teacher who gets involved in his students lives. But I can guarantee you it is so much more than that.
Every character has a story worth-telling. One has agoraphobia ( an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away) and won´t leave his house. Another has a very strict parent and can not express how he feels. Most importantly, Bruno is gay but does not want to come out because he is afraid of what everyone may think. Thus, obviously, the representation in this TV show is huge.
Apart from Bruno, there is another gay kid in the class, Oliver, who is out and happy. The director of the show mentioned, “I wanted to show the other gay side: the one that does not hide and is proud to be who he is. But I also wanted two students to get involved with him so that Merlí could be strict with them because this does not happen in real life. There are too many teachers who say “it’s not my problem, they’re just kids and no, you have to be strict.”
Aside from all of this, the show demonstrates and analyzes the situations we experience everyday without trying to give us a lesson but instead entertain us and inspire critical thinking. It is not obvious, it is not pretentious, it does not seek to impose the Catalan landscape over history. It wants to be nothing more than a program that leaves you thinking for a while.
With two seasons and one final season to come this year, Netflix bought the rights to the show last November and now Merlí is out for everyone to enjoy. With a lot of shows that are practicaly the same, give this one a try. You won´t regret it.
“I wrote the show I would have liked to see when I was 16 years old. One that made me think and laugh at the same time, to help me make decisions, to make me question some things, to help me not feel different, or, on the contrary, to value the difference ” “I wanted it to be a show that portrayed a world recognizable to everyone: the school. A series with young protagonists whom I would like to have as friends” the scriptwriter, Hector Lozano, stated in an interview.