‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ sacrifices important narrative for a love triangle

Amazon Prime adaption show dilutes book’s themes

Image by: Rida Chaudhry
‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

This article discusses substance abuse and addiction and may be triggering for some readers. The Canadian Mental Health Association Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-875-6213.

Daisy Jones & The Six, the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was recently released as a 10-episode series on Amazon Prime.

The book depicts the titular, fictional band that rises to the top of the music industry in the seventies and falls just as fast. The band’s success and sound are inspired by Fleetwood Mac so, imagine my dismay when the television adaption of the novel about music had so little to do with music—or anything of substance.

In all film adaptions of our favourite novels, it’s inevitable that, in one way or another, the adaption will stray away from the plots present in the book. Daisy Jones & The Six doesn’t evade this fixed consequence of bringing words to screen.

While the series highlights the scandals, feuds, and love drama discussed in the novel, it comes at the expense of the representations of drug abuse and addiction, abandonment, and sexual assault—primary themes throughout the novel.

The largest difference between the book and the show is demonstrated in the love triangle between Daisy (Riley Keough), Billy (Sam Claflin), and Camila (Camila Morrone). In the book, Billy and Daisy feel unspoken, mutual love and longing for each other—the key word being unspoken.

Their affair is left up to the audience’s interpretation. In fact, that’s what makes their affair beautiful: knowing they’re meant for each other but can never be together. It’s a tragic love the audience roots for.

On-screen, however, Daisy and Billy physically cheat, and the affair is transparent to everyone, including Camilla. In episode three, Billy kisses Daisy so she can properly record their next track. By episode six, Camilla finds out Billy is opening his heart up to Daisy through the music they’re writing, and then witnesses a passionate argument between the two. In episode 10, Camilla confronts Billy about the affair.

The chemistry between Claflin and Keough is creative ecstasy. The longing stares, angry jealousy, and pure passion are the perfect demonstration of twin flames who can’t be together. I adore their love story as much as the next girl, but at what cost prevail over the complexity of the rest of the story ?

In the end, Daisy Jones & the Six sacrifices the novel’s unglamorized depictions of drug addiction, abandonment, and sexual assault for a classic love story we’ve seen time and time again.

Billy and Daisy’s characters are so beautiful and beloved in the book because the reader sympathizes with their backstories. Rather than portray Billy and Daisy’s abandonment by their parental figures, however, the adaption depicts short, rushed scenes of Billy’s dad being out of the picture and Daisy’s mother telling her she has no talent.

Glossing over these scenes leaves no space for the audience to tether themselves to the characters. Without the characters’ deep, detailed backstories, you can’t connect to them. Instead, they’re dislikeable.

In the novel, the neglect Daisy feels leads her to extreme substance abuse, addiction, and sometimes even falling victim to objectification and sexual assault. She takes so many pills and drinks so much that she’s on the brink of death, dangerously high at early hours of the morning to late at nights.

Her backstory is what makes the reader sympathize and care for her choices, attitudes, and behaviour. This raw, unglamorized depiction of addition confronts large social issues and connects you to Daisy and the larger story. We didn’t receive that in the show.

On-screen, Daisy’s substance abuse is glossed over. It feels almost sudden when Daisy overdoses in episode eight, and it shouldn’t have. Rather, the show should’ve shown her addiction to a much larger extent from the beginning.

The adaption had the opportunity to show a raw representation of substance abuse—a depiction that would’ve fueled conversations around the struggles of addiction—but chose instead to sacrifice that in favour of Hollywood’s cliché love triangle.

The rawness of Reid’s constructions of Daisy and Billy fall flat in the show because it’s not good television. Where the realities of social issues fall, Hollywood’s tragic love stories prevail.


Amazon Prime, Daisy Jones & The Six, novel, TV Adaption

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