Turn Up Charlie: A No Spoiler Review

A quick binge watch can sometimes be the most attractive way to waste a dreary winter afternoon and if that is what you are looking for, Turn Up Charlie may be just what you seek. An easy story with 30 minute episodes on Netflix about a DJ trying to make it in an unforgiving late night world, as he tries to network and get his songs heard he finds himself working as a nanny for a more famous DJ. With a top notch storyline, actors who simply can not be beat, and even some excellent tunes making up the sound track, you will not regret adding this show to your queue.

Our story opens on Idris Elba as Charlie, the DJ in question, doing his thing up on the 1s and 2s in the middle of a club and I am here for it.  I will admit I was skeptical when I first saw he was the title character. Seemed out of pocket for me due based solely on his age, but after the opening scene I believe! He actually seemed really comfortable up there in the DJ booth and as it turns out, Idris is a DJ in his real life and even was the DJ at The Royal Wedding of Harry and Meagan.  I gladly stand corrected as his natural musical abilities only add to the storyline and made it so easy to focus on his acting in this well written, feel good piece.

An interesting storyline regarding parenting very quickly becomes evident as we see Charlie reconnect with a long time friend, a famous actor played by JJ Field who is married to an equally famous DJ, played by Piper Perabo whom you may remember fondly from Coyote Ugly. These two turn out to be the worst parents ever as they are more focused on their individual careers than anything else in their lives. Constantly passing their daughter off to nannies and other employees, they remain stuck in their own little worlds. Smart as a whip, Gabs makes a game out of running off unsuspecting child care providers in hopes that she just may actually get to spend some time with her illusive parents. Secret’s out people. Children want to spend time with their parents. Write that down.  

Eventually the family decides to settle down in London for a time so Gabs can go to a real school, make some friends, and have some stability for a change. There is also the small fact that her father got a steady job acting in a local play, but we can let that one go for now and applaud these parents for seemingly putting their child’s needs first. As we see various parenting hijinks ensue, it becomes more and more obvious that these parents not only have little to no experience with children, they do not seem to know their own child at all either. It is an interesting viewpoint to see the world of parenting through the eyes of a privileged but neglected child who is undoubtedly smarter than almost all the adults that surround her. There are certainly times her parents try to be there for her, but these are few and far between and are outweighed by the frequent moments Gabs blames herself for her parents not holding up to their adult responsibilities.

The child actors in this show truly shine, and are well worth the viewing experience. Gabs, played beautifully by 11 year old Frankie Hervey as well as her friend Hunter, played by Cameron King both seem wise beyond their years in these well cast roles. A sharp talking witty teenager, Hunter steals just about every scene he is in and no wonder having previously acted amongst greats such as Dame Judi Dench. These kids make the viewer realize children observe so much more than they are given credit for. They can also serve as a cautionary tale as to what happens when tweens are given little to no supervision. When Charlie is watching over Gabs, they seem to connect more as peers but he still manages to largely keep her safe and out of trouble.  While he does not care for her much differently than her own parents, we do see the difference between a the bond of parent and child as well as peer relationships and it is highlighted how much more influential the parental relationship can be to a child.  

Whether you are in it for a quick afternoon binge watch, the excellent house music, or an opportunity feel better about your own parenting, Turn Up Charlie has a little something for everyone. It can easily be a fun way to pass the afternoon, get up and dance should the spirit move you! You may also appreciate the story about family dynamics, how to relate to a growing teen in today’s world, and drink in some cautions on what can only be described as absent parenting. Whatever you end up taking from it, Turn Up Charlie will be an easy watch, and much recommended.

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