Recently, several TV series such as This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy and Parenthood have brought the adoption topic to our screens. In all these, it’s not a main theme, but just one of many. Moreover, the long and challenging process that adoptive parents must go through to be approved is rarely taken into consideration. That’s why the creator Andy Wolton, an adoptee himself, decided to create a series that would fill this void. The BBC and Apple TV+ co-produced comedy Trying portrays commitment and hard work behind adoptions. It shows the difficult and emotional journey that needs to be accomplished to become foster parents.
A witty couple and a quirky ensemble
Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) are a couple in their 30s. After being together for a while they feel ready to have a baby. But, unfortunately, due to infertility, they realize that conceiving is no longer an option for them. Following this painful discovery, they decide to start the adoption procedure. Full of enthusiasm and determination, this hilarious and genuine couple goes through all the necessary steps to encounter many obstacles.
Jason and Nikki quickly realize how true the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is! In fact, during the adoption process, not only the couple but its entire support system is evaluated. Their families and friends, however, are an unconventional and messy ensemble. Therefore, the two have to deal simultaneously with old-fashioned parents with outdated ideas about adoption, a couple of friends in crisis, a wise and funny social worker, and even exes.
Humor as a storytelling tool
The series deals with a painful and private issue such as infertility and does so through humor. A risky choice, but one that couldn’t be more appropriate. Nikki’s sweetness and spontaneity, Jason’s honesty and friendliness are contagious. In every episode, there is room to laugh until you cry, and the couple’s funny complicity is moving. Humor and laughter become tools to break taboos. Trying shows us that love and positivity, attention and care for others allow us to go far and overcome adversity.
The series’ humor never ends up being cynical, but rather becomes synonymous with compassion and sensitivity. The viewer can therefore identify with the situation and feel involved. It is precisely for this reason that the Guardian in one of its articles has defined some moments of the series as “relatable surely in one way or another for any member of the human race”.
In addition, Trying helps to normalize the fact that not having your life figured out yet in your thirties is okay. Nikki and Jason show us that being mature adults often means listening to our inner child. Wolton has created a unicum in the TV series’ landscape. Trying finally offers the opportunity for all those parents who feel alone and underrepresented to recognize themselves on screen.
Small details that make a difference
The series’ writing style, color palettes, and attention to small details add value and make the series even more enjoyable. The vibrant colors reflect the bubbly personalities of the characters. An extra touch is added by the original soundtrack. For the second season, the soundtrack was specially created by the young English singer-songwriter Maisie Peters, who composed it after reading the script. Her songs mirror each episode and contribute to make the series special.