I have no idea what compelled me to watch this show on Netflix.
Being an ER doc, I tend to gravitate to adrenaline-fueled, action programming like TheWalking Dead or Breaking Bad, or outdoor survival shows like Alone, where I can try to envision how someone might splint their own broken femur given nothing more than some paracord, driftwood, and a tarp.
Sprinkle in a few of the most inane comedies like Talladega Nights which elevated the line “I’ll beat you like a spider monkey” into the pantheon of the Profeta family vernacular and you pretty much have a sense of my TV viewing habits.
I’m certainly not going to be drawn to some wokeish, Gen-Z drama about another teen mom who gets knocked up by a “grunger” then laments her mistakes as she struggles to now raise her kid in a double-wide. All while her bartending baby daddy gets venereal warts from some hostess while she sleeps cuddled beside her child in the next room. Why would I? I live these characters every single day I go to work.
So a show like this? Typically I’d just brush past it barely giving it a synapse of my attention. But then . . . well . . . I had a few minutes, so I watched . . . and it became something different.
It was compelling and I was instantly hooked and frankly in awe that Margaret Qualley could portray the human element of this young girl in a way that made the counting of change for a daycare ice cream sundae as tension-filled as Walter White threatening to toss a bag of fulminated mercury at the feet of Tuco.
In this simple ER doc’s opinion, the Netflix series Maid is the most important show on television. It should be a viewing staple in every home, especially those where parents often struggle to find the right forum in which to discuss some very complicated issues with their own teenagers. I’d like to see it become an adjunct in high school health classes, particularly those with a large number of at-risk students. It’s certainly a hell of a lot more important than making another poster of the four food groups. It highlights the struggle of a young woman born to a mother with unmanaged mania or schizophrenia, whose formative years are shaped by domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, and alcohol. These are important issues that impact so many of our young people these days.
Now certainly those stories are not unique—they are the foundations of films from A Coal Miner’s Daughter to The Color Purple, but the writing and the creativity of this series elevates the day-to-day struggles of this single mom dealing with domestic battery, mental illness, homelessness, all while trying to wind her way through the bureaucratic paperwork of food stamps and rental assistance into a quest that’s nothing short of Homeric. You will literally stand and cheer when she summons the courage to simply just take charge of her life and live for her daughter.
This series should eventually come complete with its own study guide especially for those seeking a career in social work, counseling, medicine, or public service. It covers in startling detail some of the most important issues impacting social health and welfare in a manner that avoids hyperbole and just presents a real person in a real-world situation of poverty. While at the same time, telling us (without telling us) this young lady is blessed with extraordinary intellect, courage, and drive—something that so many in her situation do not have. That reality is portrayed so well in the quiet movements of those in the periphery of this drama.
I’ve never really felt compelled to write a review about anything except for the occasional book, or barbecue truck, but this is altogether different. Maid is pure brilliance. It’s educational, thought-provoking, and opens up the real world of everyday poverty and those trying to navigate around their bad choices and the situations that impact their life for which they have no control.
I am literally a better doctor and a better person for having watched this.
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis and a member of the Indianapolis Forensic Services Board. He is a national award-winning writer, public speaker and one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Feedback at email@example.com is welcomed. For other publications and for speaking dates, go to louisprofeta.com. For college speaking inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis. He is one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Dr Louis holds a medical degree from the Indiana University Bloomington.