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The Baby Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
Parenting, in many ways, is a roller coaster of control. It’s a process that, if it starts from the birth of child, is a tradeoff of autonomy for trying to keep a tiny human alive. Turns out that process is not that much different on TV. As soon as The Baby pops up in the new HBO/Sky co-production “The Baby,” it takes feats of superhuman strength to wrest attention away from him.
Most of this child’s time is spent around Natasha (Michelle de Swarte), an accomplished chef who escapes the city for a remote cabin. (The location for her rented vacation place can best be described as “the foot of The Cliffs of Insanity,” a nice early surreal touch in a pilot directed by “Watchmen” vet Nicole Kassell.) After a startlingly matter-of-fact series of events, she returns as the unsuspecting guardian of the small, crawling Baby. Despite her best efforts to turn the little boy over to authorities or foist him on someone else, the two become linked almost immediately.
The Baby doesn’t have to be an allegory to be effective, so “The Baby” has the freedom to let raising a child be a nightmarish ordeal for someone not so keen on the idea of kids, regardless of what greater forces might be at play. Still, “The Baby” doesn’t choose its new guardian by accident: Natasha’s general relationship to family means she isn’t exactly bringing a clean slate to this ordeal. The Baby takes a backseat as Natasha confronts some other lingering wounds she’s long been ignoring.
The farther that “The Baby” gets toward its endpoint, these thorny ideas of generational trauma and social responsibility continue to float in and out of this story. “The Baby” does its best to make all of these ideas stick together, but this season feels like it works better in individual pieces than it does together. The small-scale saga of watching Natasha slowly try to manage friends, family, and strangers sometimes feels at odds with the gothic, monumental conflict the show is trying to set up for her elsewhere. When entire episodes can focus on one or the other (as in the season-best Episode 5), there’s a chance for the show to find a groove. In back-and-forth mode, there’s less to grab on to.
The extent to which anyone finds “The Baby” a comedy might be connected to how much they relate to Natasha’s parenting troubles. There might be a dark chuckle of recognition in the things that Natasha says that parents instinctively (or by pressure) tamp down. Anyone who’s been told directly or indirectly that their methods of raising a child are wrong-headed may take a tiny shred of vicarious joy in the fates of those who stray into this story’s path and lose more than their composure.
“The Baby” really seems to be having fun the more it leans into its Brothers Grimm-adjacent DNA. Rather than a Rumplestiltskin type sent to hound Natasha until she breaks, it’s a worldless little tyke in a 15-pound package. Mysterious elders appearing in unexpected places, family secrets, even one character’s art would feel right at home in an old-fashioned picture book designed to scare kids toward virtue. With each new wrinkle that pops up, answering one question by asking five more, it’s easy as a viewer to do what Natasha does: hold on tight and hope things work out for the best.