Seven Episodes Of Baby Reindeer And You’ll Want To Move Cities And Get A New Number

Netflix’s hit series, Baby Reindeer, over seven carefully made episodes throws the light on one simple truth – you simply cannot buy anyone and everyone a cup of tea.

Published On May 18, 2024 | Updated On May 18, 2024

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Baby Reindeer — the Netflix stalker-drama that apparently got 60 million views in one month — is far from over, well at least as far as the controversies that surround it are concerned. And if you haven’t seen it yet, please go add to that 60 million. 

Tapping into the life of Richard Gadd, who also plays Donny Dunn in this seven-part limited series, it takes us through his life as an aspiring standup comedian who works as a bartender to pay his bills, and how in a moment of weakness he allows the fairly dubious Martha Scott into his life, not quite knowing the rabbit hole he was about to encounter. Soon, Dunn’s life turns into anything but a joke. 

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In the series, Scott, who may or may not have detected Dunn’s pre-existing vulnerabilities, leaves no stone unturned — think lewd emails and text messages by the hundreds, showing up everywhere, threatening him —when it comes to cornering the man who cannot decide whether he likes it or wants to crawl into a hole till it’s over. (Not spoiling this for anyone). 

Baby Reindeer was developed from Gadd’s 2019 comic stage show of the same name, depicting his own experiences of being stalked over a decade-long period. 

Remember the 2018- Netflix series, You? While that one was more on the lines of being a psychological thriller and perhaps with enough drama to give viewers that much-needed boundary, Baby Reindeer is gutting. There’s nothing quite romantic about stalking. What appears to be flattering at first, which also depends entirely on the tone of the initial invasion of privacy, it can quickly escalate to a terrifying experience. 

A few social media influencers that I had met on a trip told me and a few others about the kind of messages they receive in their DMs. From obscene photos to absolutely unhinged propositions, these women have to constantly battle objectification, which often turns to borderline harassment and stalking on the internet. I was in fact not surprised but most certainly disgusted. What motivates these people into harassing another person? I'd just put it down to mental health issues.

Baby Reindeer gave me a couple of sleepless nights. And while I am grateful that I have never really been stalked at this level, I do remember one particular person who would constantly text me and want to meet. I must have told him that I am simply not interested a dozen times, but every couple of months, sometimes less, he’d ask anyway and then be utterly surprised when I said no. He’s been blocked. 

A little more than a year ago, a young writer friend of mine from Kolkata told me how she got trapped into a series of incidents where an ex not only stalked her, but her friends as well, resorted to rumour-mongering and threatened to make “compromising photos” of her public. There were no such photos but my friend was seriously worried that he would find a way to manufacture them. After several rounds to the police station, and therapy sessions and growing trust issues, I do believe the matter eventually petered out.  

And while not all women have to deal with a ‘K… K... K… Kiran’ situation, even the slightest fear that you may be watched can dishevel one’s thoughts, not to mention their daily lives. 

Mahesh Natarajan, a Bengaluru-based counsellor and therapist says, “Sometimes, people can get fixated on a person they see as a potential partner, but it can also be a friend, colleague or anybody of interest. Often, it starts with a sense of feeling connected, a special attraction or validation that doesn't normally happen for them, and the feeling it brings us so special that it is hard to think it won't happen, or it won't last. A short one night stand, or even a casual conversation might be the start and boundaries are hard to respect. Most times, the obsession wears off with other aspects in life, but when it doesn't, it gets really dangerous. We see so many cases of men so obsessed with women they see as objects of attraction, that even when rejected, they can't handle it – recent cases of a man beheading a woman in Karnataka, the multiple other violent incidents are often cases of obsession that becomes stalking, that gets even homicidal. For most stalker themselves, if and when life brings other events in their lives, it can just vanish, never to return. Few do remain in that mould with only the target changing.”

In Scott's case, it wasn't just her need to obsess over Dunn; she also had to create this impression that despite her insane work schedule and her hobnobbing with influential people, SHE was the one making time for him. But Scott was lying, either by choice or was just plain delusional, and it didn't matter to her whether Dunn was impressed or not. What mattered was that he noticed her, because if he doesn't, how does she start to stalk him?

There are laws against stalking in India. If your gut tells you that you might be, don’t ignore it. And while you may not receive endless messages and proclamations of love, your perpetrator will be looking for even the tiniest of signs to be encouraged. Don’t be Donny Dunn, you really don't want your version of Martha Scott. 


Photo: IMDB