From there, it’s all about the KonMari method. The victim gathers all of their clothing in one massive heap and holds each piece in hand, asking themselves if this sock or shirt “sparks joy”. If yes, it is folded the KonMari way (in thirds, stored upright). If not, they thank the shirt for its service before throwing it out. Once the clothes are sorted, they move on to books, kitchen utensils, make-up, garage riff-raff, until voila! Their life is magically transformed!
You know their life has been magically transformed because the people will turn to the camera and tell you so. They will say things like, “My life has totally changed,” or, “Our relationship is in a different place now.”
It’s all very positive and life-affirming and so on, but that, I think, is also the problem.
Good drama requires some form of struggle. Marie Kondo, however, is so free of darkness—whether in the form of betrayal, disappointment, anger, failure, or even skepticism—that the whole enterprise feels unreal; almost glib. We don’t get a visceral sense of either frustration or despair, and therefore, no sense of satisfaction when their lives are said to ‘begin anew’. The so-called life-changing magic feels inexplicable and unconvincing, like a store-bought parlour trick for Muggles.
Deeper problems—like grief or the gendered attitudes towards housework—occasionally bubble to the surface, but they are glossed over. Douglas, the musician-husband (ep. 3) never truly confronts why he shirks housework, and Wendy Akiyama (ep.2)’s compulsive shopping is never spoken of at all. Once the house is in order, the underlying problems peeking out from the under the mess are either quickly forgotten or deliberately ignored.
The end result is not a convincing story of overcoming one’s demons, but a bland diary of superficial progress; featuring one happy loving couple turning into a happier, even more loving couple thanks to streamlined underwear storage.
Perfectly good ASMR if you’re suffering from insomnia, but piss-poor entertainment for the bored and lonely. If you need something that’s equally positive but actually watchable, I suggest torrenting The Great British Bake-off instead.
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