Parents' Guide to

The Dropout

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Well-acted show takes another look at an infamous scandal.

TV Hulu Drama 2022
The Dropout Television: Poster image

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With both empathy for its main subject and an unsentimental view of the drive that led her to a bad end, this series is a fascinating look at a real-life villain with all-too-human motivations. Viewers likely have watched one of the YouTube clips featuring her holding forth about Theranos in her unsettlingly deep voice, and vaguely know she was involved in some type of financial scandal involving fakery. The Dropout starts with a taped deposition of Seyfried/Holmes testifying about her company's financial misdeeds, but it soon zips back to show us Holmes in her nascent stage as a former school outcast turned unnervingly serious Stanford student. By the end of the first episode, she's formulated her big idea (and heard from Laurie Metcalf's deliciously tart professor Gardner that it'll never work), and she's off to the races, business-wise.

Arriving as it does on a wave of bio-series that take a fresh look at female figures at the center of notorious scandals (see: Pam & Tommy, Inventing Anna), The Dropout is briskly plotted and paced, thanks to solid writing from a strong bench of writers, including some very notable female ones: The Americans' Hilary Bettis and New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether among them. The cast is full of heavy hitters too; besides Seyfried, Andrews, and Metcalf, watch for William H. Macy, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Anne Archer, among other luminaries, making a meal out of relatively small roles. It's all pretty wonderful, particularly for anyone who saw the headlines and wondered just what was up with this weird lady and her big fake company, another Ponzi scheme for the ages that worked. For a while.

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