Wouldn’t you like to go back in time and do things over again—but better? VH1’s Hindsight, which premiered earlier this year, examines this premise in a way that is fun, entertaining, and introspective.
The lead character Becca (Laura Ramsey) is about to get married in 2013. It’s her second marriage, and she’s in her early forties (though looks much younger, which makes sense as the story moves along). Fiance Andy (Nick Clifford) is cute and appealing, and Becca appears to love him, but there is also some hesitation there as we see her gathering with friends and family the night before her wedding. Becca doesn’t come across as the typical happy bride— she seems nervous and apprehensive about getting married. Most of all, Becca yearns for Lolly, her best friend from the past who mysteriously is no longer a friend. Becca leaves a phone message for Lolly (though she admits she’s not even sure if this is the right phone number for her), telling Lolly that she’s about to get married, and since Lolly was her maid of honor at the first wedding, “You should be here.” She also apologizes for things that went wrong between them, although she doesn’t say exactly what happened.
Alice went down the rabbithole. Becca gets into an elevator that is operating abnormally, collapses, and when she wakes up, Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign” is playing on her alarm clock and it’s 1995. When Becca was 23, and about to get married for the first time to Sean (Craig Horner), a charming musician who according to Becca’s voiceovers was always unreliable and unable to make a good living.
1995 Becca reunites with Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), a funny girl with a tendency to be a flake but also a good, supportive best friend. By giving some references to things that happened, Becca is actually able to convince Lolly that she’s time-traveling from the future and needs some help figuring out what to do next.
Should Becca marry Sean, or try to get back together with Andy (who is dating someone else in 1995)? Does she want to stay in her job, or find a different career? And isn’t it great to just enjoy being young, whether it’s wearing a black motorcycle jacket that you had abandoned, or having a one-night stand? Watching it all play out is part of the fun, especially with a great ’90s soundtrack in the background (everything from U2 to Liz Phair to Frente to Bell Biv DeVoe to Collective Soul, and more, and Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” serves well as the show’s theme song)
I mentioned the Mad Men tie-in. Laura Ramsey played Joy in Season Two’s The Jet Set, one of my favorite episodes. Don left his hotel and got into Joy’s car and went off to spend time with her and her wealthy European friends. She’s virtually unrecognizable in Hindsight, and if not for knowing her name I would never have placed her. She’s blonder and more angular on Hindsight and her face looks very different. As Becca, she’s winsome and charming, but also vulnerable and something of a worrywart. (Finding yourself in a completely different decade can do that to you, I suppose.) Her relationship with Goldberg’s Lolly is a highlight, as the two characters complement each other very well. Lolly is much more of a “free spirit,” but with Becca’s input she also realizes the importance of looking towards her future, and trying not to make mistakes that might affect others and also her own life for years to come.
Most of the supporting characters are quite appealing as well—besides Andy and Sean there are other characters like Phoebe (Becca’s meddlesome but ultimately well-meaning cousin), Jamie (Becca’s brother and one of Lolly’s love interests), and Sebastian (Lolly’s quirky video-store boss). There are other characters too, but I don’t want to go into too much detail here or give away too many spoilers.
I like period pieces and I’ve always been very interested in the 1960s (an era I never lived through or experienced) so Mad Men has that draw for me, in addition to being a great show. Watching a show set in the 1990s is different. If, like me, you remember at least some things about the ’90s, then watching this show and hearing some of the songs again will have a certain nostalgia for you. Like Becca, you might even think about what it would be like to go back in time. What would you do differently?
Hindsight filmed 10 episodes for Season 1, and it has been renewed for a second season, although the air date has not yet been announced. Season 1 is currently available to view on Vh1.com (for free, with some commercial interruptions), and on Amazon Instant Video (for around $1.99 per episode). It is also available for rental on Netflix DVDs (although not yet via streaming).