The pilot episode of Daisy Jones & the Six portrays the physical joy of claiming your own words.
I’m still thinking about the pilot episode of Daisy Jones & the Six. It took me a while to start watching the Amazon Prime adaptation of the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. When I have a certain relationship with a book I get apprehensive about the changes that’ll happen in the translation to the screen. I mean, I still haven’t watched the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series on Netflix because I loved the books so much and I got nauseous with apprehension about how much the screen version might fuck up the magical images in my mind. It was with this same trepidation that I started watching the first episode of Daisy Jones & the Six. And that was only because I had to admit that a story about a legendary Fleetwood Mac-esque rock band is pretty much made for the screen. I was equal parts surprised and relieved to see immediately that the show’s in good hands. The structure and execution is strong and compelling, and really uses the visual and audio medium to maximum effect. And then when I finished it, I had to sit on it for a couple months because I just couldn’t move past that first episode. Now that I’ve finally re-watched it, I’m ready to get all of the thoughts and feelings in my body out onto the written page. And what I think my obsession comes down to is the character of Daisy Jones, and her journey to finding her voice.
Let’s start with Riley Keough, the actress playing Daisy. She radiates off the screen like a rainbow. Wow, that was some flowery language. Damn. She’s also memorable for playing the antagonist Stefani in the 2020 stripper film Zola. And she’s Elvis Presley‘s granddaughter. How fitting is that? Talk about a legacy.
When Daisy is asked by a rock journalist when did she first fall in love with music, we cut to Daisy as a young girl, belting her heart out to a blues song by Violet Hall, “All Alone I Sit and Cry.” I love finding blues songs I’ve never heard of before.
Then young Daisy’s blissful wailing is cut short by a character close to her who tells her “no one wants to hear your voice.”
No one wants to hear your voice.
Whew. What a thing to hear as a child. That’s the kind of hurt that one would carry around for awhile.
As a teenager, Daisy’s love of music remains. The first time she sees a live performance at the Whiskey a Go Go, the stark expression of longing and want on her face says everything. A line from the sublime High Fidelity reboot comes to mind: “I want to be a part of that.”
Daisy’s first grasp for empowerment, of reclaiming what’s been silenced, happens when she starts writing in her journal. She describes the feeling of writing as better than drugs. By this time, she’s doing a lot of drugs, so that’s saying something.
But that internal wound from childhood of not valuing her voice manifests as a pattern in Daisy’s adult life. Men she’s romantically involved with take a shine to her catchphrases and wordplay and then use them for their own creative endeavors. They consider her their own personal muse, not an artist in her own right. When Daisy calls one of these men out on this, he laughs in her face.
Thank goodness she meets Simone, an up and coming disco star. (Yes. Bring on the disco. Music to make you move and strut your stuff, baby.) Their heart-to-heart conversation over a Carole King record sparks the realization in Daisy that she wants to be on a stage, to “sing in her own voice, because [the songs] mean something to her.”
When Daisy does take her first step singing her own words, I mean, just walking down the street is fucking glorious after that. And in those sexy ass 70s clothes to boot. Hoop earrings and wide legged jeans and halter tops with no bra. Let’s bring all that back, okay? All of that. Because I don’t know about you, but since pandemic times, I can’t go more than half a day in my house before I want to take my bra off.
What I love so much about the pilot episode was Daisy’s journey of finding her voice. When she stood up for herself, and decided to take that leap to valuing what she herself wanted and had to offer, the joy and pleasure in that was palpable. Visceral. It’s a beautiful portrayal of personal liberation that stayed with me long after the episode was over.
Are you watching Daisy Jones & the Six?