Selena Gomez has announced she will be producing a Netflix documentary series titled Living Undocumented. The show will follow eight undocumented immigrant families from the US who live with the possibility of being deported. To say that it’s gonna be ‘heavy stuff’ is a massive understatement.
It’s hard to know how to feel about this; while it’s admirable that Gomez is trying to use her status to bring important issues to light, that didn’t go so well for her last time. Her Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was slammed for its portrayal of suicide.
In particular, people were mad about the fact that it conveyed the message that if you take your own life there will be retribution for those who did you wrong. For anyone who’s ever experienced a person taking their own life they’ll know that, more often than not, nothing comes right. The portrayal of Hannah Baker’s bullies having to face what they did to her in the wake of her death may have appealed to young, suicidal teens… and that’s just freakin’ scary.
There were calls that it romanticised suicide and that the show offered no ‘positive’ solutions for suicidal teens.
Which is why we’re straight-up jerkin’ our shirts over Selena Gomez’s announcement of her new documentary series. How will she handle the deeply complicated and sensitive issue of living in a country without papers?
Something tells us that if she gets this series wrong, it’ll be slammed in a way that 13 Reasons never could be. The thing with 13 Reasons Why is that it mainly appealed to a very young audience who weren’t necessarily engaged with the political debate. While the older, parental viewers saw the show’s problematic parts, it continued to rake in views from teens.
But with Living Undocumented? you best believe there will be immigrant audiences who have experienced living in fear of being ‘caught out.’ This show ain’t based in high school, nor are all the characters teens. It’ll involve the plight of undocumented mums, dads and college students. So if Gomez gets this wrong, there will be loads of people ready to set the record straight – and maybe that’s a good thing.