I would not have known Rita if it wasn’t for Netflix. One day she just popped up in my suggestions and I thought: she does not look like your normal Hollywood starlet, what is this? When I found out it was from Denmark, I immediately started watching Rita, as Scandinavian things are awesome. Also, the description said this series was about a woman that was not ready to grow up yet, and I can totally relate to that! So, in case you are not persuaded into watching this lovely show yet, let me give you five reasons why you should:
The Daring Danish
When you think about Danish TV-shows and films you will probably immediately come up with dramatic, gory or dark series like Borgen, The Killing and Jagten. Rita however, is more a comedy series. Not like an American sitcom throwing one punchline after the other at the audience, but more like a family movie in which personal problems usually are taken care of in a very light way. Rita is about a high school teacher and the kids are also starring in the show, without turning into brats you want to flush down the toilet!
Especially this one colleague of Rita (Mille Dinesen), named Hjordis (Lise Baastrup) is making me laugh, because she is kind of geeky and she always starts doing things very enthusiasticly. In one episode she comes up with making a time capsule, but she has no idea what to put in it. (Rita suggests weed 😛 ) Or she comes up with a project to stop bullying that is very succesful with the kids, but not so much around the teachers. Every time Rita gives things a nice little spin and it is lovely to watch something nice and light like that in between series. Hjordis by the way has gotten her own spin-off after Rita.
It might take a while to get used to it, and some of us might even have to look for the options in Netflix to switch on the subtitles, as in this Danish show there is no English. Well, there are a lot of English words Danish people use, but Rita is a Danish show. I think it is great, as a lot of Danish words are totally understandable for a Dutch person, and the English ones are too. But you will still need the subtitles and that means you cannot really do other things while watching Rita, which is a good thing. You cannot be Whatsapping your friends, you cannot be working; one thing at a time. Relax… I love that you really get everything out of this series this way, especially the looks Rita often gives people (they rock!).
It’s not that Rita is always so very intense, because she is a very relaxed person. She walks through school with her hands in her pockets and she has a very no nonsense way of teaching. She is not one to listen to authority and kids love that she does things her way. That feeling is great, and even when there are very big issues in the show, the atmosphere never gets uneasy. Part of that probably comes from the location, the school, as that is a very safe and nice place. In the show Rita it definitely is, and that is lovely because it is not overdone and it makes the series feel good.
Not too long
The nice thing about Rita as an inbetween show is that it is short. Or well, it is not supershort (like Hjordis!), but it is definitely not 8 seasons long. Originally they were about to make two seasons, when Netflix funded a third season. This third season was a great ender to the show, but I would not mind watching another season of Rita. May be Netflix will go for it, but at this moment there are no announcements. It does not take a lot of time to watch all three seasons, it is just 24 episodes of 45 minutes. It does not matter if you bingewatch it at home or if you enjoy one episode a day when travelling to work; Rita currently is not that big of a comittment.
I have offered you four reasons to watch Rita NOW!, but my favorite still has to be revealed: Rita as a person. She is a single mom with three kids, that sleeps with her boss, so you could say that she is quite the character. Actress Mille Dinesen (Nynne) really does an awesome job in playing her. I should also give Christian Torpe (Stille Hjerte) some credit, as he is the one that came up with the show. What I like about Rita, is that she is so stable and sure of herself. Her life pulls her from the one job or person, but Rita stays the same. She does not want to hear about conventional ideas and how one should live. She has a very open mind and she does not mind going to the bar alone, looking for sex. She does not feel one bit embarrassed by smoking in the toilets in school and even if a friend of hers dresses up like her and has sex with her boyfriend in the classroom, she does not blink an eye. Rita is an amazing woman that, even though her strange characteristics never change, still blows people away.