Harry and Meghan’s ‘exhausting endurance test’ documentary is scored at lowly 43% on Rotten Tomatoes
Harry and Meghan’s docuseries has been scored at a lowly 43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as critics in the United States rounded on the show after Netflix released the highly-anticipated second half on Thursday.
But while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are relying on the US market to warm to them, the docuseries was described as a ‘cringeworthy’ ‘exhausting endurance test’ by outlets. One described it as ‘going disastrously’ for the couple.
The pair detailed their experiences leading to their decision to step away from British royal duties and make a new start in the United States in ‘Harry & Meghan,’ the six-part series. The first three installments, released last week, to mixed reviews.
While the first three installments, released last week, focused on the British media’s coverage of the couple, the final three episodes see Harry, 38, directing more of his ire at Prince William, now heir to the throne, and speaking in more detail about how his relationship with the royal household broke down.
Harry and Meghan’s documentary has been scored at a lowly 43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as critics in the United States rounded on the show
In the six-part docuseries, Harry and Meghan (pictured) detailed their experiences leading to their decision to step away from British royal duties and make a new start in the United States
Looking at the reviews will not make happy reading for Harry and Meghan, 41, or for the director of the docuseries Liz Garbus.
According to review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has so far recieved positive reviews from just 43 percent of critics. This fell on Thursday following the release of the final three episodes.
The audience score makes for even worse reading, with positive reviews making up just 14 percent of the 4,209 reviews posted to the website, as of Friday morning. There have been some suggestions this has been a result of ‘review bombing’.
The Atlantic magazine’s review of the final three episodes of the series calls them a ‘Cringeworthy End of Harry & Meghan on Netflix’.
Reporter Helen Lewis asks readers if they were ready for ‘three more hours of expensively lit retribution?’ She bemoans the length of the docuseries, noting that ‘Ken Burns needed just three times as long to get through the entire Vietnam war’.
Lewis writes that the series frames Harry and Meghan’s departure from the Royal Family’s inner circle ‘as a missed opportunity for racial healing, for generational change, for a new social awareness in a stuffy institution’.
‘This recurrent motif gives the whole documentary the unfortunate air of a late-night message left on your ex’s voicemail, insisting that you are happy to have moved on, and are having a great life,’ she says.
Lewis also points out that while the couple repeat that they have never had the chance to tell their story, ‘in addition to sitting for a prime-time interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Meghan also cooperated with the writers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the authors of a sympathetic biography of the couple.’
‘Omissions like this make me think a less hagiographic treatment would have served the couple better,’ the writers says. In concluding her article, Lewis says that ‘viewers should be so lucky’ that Harry and Meghan might now move on – which Harry says they are planning on doing at the end of the series.
The Atlantic magazine’s review of the final three episodes of the series calls them ‘The Cringeworthy End of Harry & Meghan on Netflix’
Forbes says that the Netflix show is ‘going disastrously’ for Harry and Meghan
Pictured: Harry and Meghan are seen together with their pet dog in the docuseries
Forbes, meanwhile, gave another withering assessment of the Netflix show.
‘Netflix’s ‘Harry & Megan’ Is Going Disastrously For Harry And Megan,’ its headline read on Thursday. The outlet says that while The Crown has been a roaring success for Netflix, the ‘”Reality Royality” has not gone nearly as smoothly.’
‘While briefly dethroning megahit Wednesday for the number one spot on Netflix, the show quickly slipped back under it. And the three hour premiere has been a bit…roasted by critics and fans alike,’ Forbes says.
‘The overall gist of the show is that it isn’t presenting all that much new information, but it’s a straight retelling of old conflicts, between Harry and Meghan and the Royal Family, and also between them and the British tabloid press and paparazzi,’ it notes.
The publication jested, however, that the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s docuseries ‘would probably be enough for…a second season of the documentary, given what’s likely to be happening now within the palace.’
Slate magazine’s review toed a line between showing sympathy for the couple’s experiences within the British royal family, while also saying: ‘It’s OK to Admit That Harry and Meghan Are Annoying’.
In his review, reporter Louis Staples writes: ‘I wondered how much indignity could we all be spared if those of us who want to support the Sussexes could just be free to admit the essential truth of this couple: that they have been treated terribly, yes.
‘But also, as is glaringly obvious in their new Netflix show, that they are honestly just quite annoying themselves.’ Staples says he ‘cringed’ at large parts of the Netflix show, saying that the couple often felt like scripted reality stars who ‘weren’t fully prepared to let their guard down.’
Slate: It’s OK to admit that Harry and Meghan are annoying
The Chicago Tribune says the final three episodes were about ‘image management’ for Harry and Meghan – and gave the show 2.5 out of 4 stars
New Yorker Magazine took a more sympathetic view towards the docuseries, describing it as ‘Meghan and Harry’s Netflix Fairy Tale’
The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, said the final three episodes were about ‘image management’ for Harry and Meghan – and gave the show 2.5 out of 4 stars.
The newspaper says that the couple have made it clear they they were ‘under siege’ during their time as working royals.
‘But the docuseries is also vague about so much. What role did Garbus, the director, play in terms of the project’s content? What were the parameters she was working under? What uncomfortable questions did she avoid — what follow ups did she not ask?’ the newspaper asks.
‘Image management is always a part of these endeavors, but how much was shaped by Garbus and how much was shaped by the couple?’
New Yorker Magazine took a more sympathetic view towards the docuseries, describing it as ‘Meghan and Harry’s Netflix Fairy Tale’.
Writer Rebecca Mead says: ‘The new documentary presents a guy from London and a girl from L.A. who escape a wicked institution. It’s also a reminder of how good a royal Meghan could have been.’
Shortly after the release on Thursday, scattered across various morning news shows and early headlines were criticisms of the pair’s allegations against Harry’s brother and of their absolute refusal to accept any blame for the fractured state of the family.
One morning show host even felt the need to point out that the series was not Netflix’s most watched, despite the streaming giant paying $100million for it.
Fox said the pair are now on track to be the ‘most hated royals’ after the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson in an opinion column by Lee Cohen
Jezebel said the couple had become addicted to the media. Writer Rodlyn-mae Banting said: ‘I sincerely hope that the worst of their storm is over, and that Harry, Meghan, their kids, and their loved ones can all live out their boring lives unbothered. And I also sincerely hope that this is the last I hear of any of it.’
NBC reporter Daisy McAndrew said the couple took ‘no responsibility’ for their role in the rift with the Royal family and said there is ‘no way back’ from the Netflix series
CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster said the Palace must respond now to the ‘very serious’ allegations made by Harry and Meghan in the new episodes
NBC’s Kier Simmons’ assessment was: ‘Goodness me, what he said about his brother, you have to wonder… what is William thinking this morning?’
Jezebel’s Rodlyn-mae Banting described the pair as having ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.
‘IT MAY BE LONG – BUT IT IS FAR FROM THOROUGH’: AMERICA’S TAKE ON HARRY & MEGHAN
The Chicago Tribune
At six hours in total, ‘Harry & Meghan’ may be long, but it is far from thorough….Garbus takes this at face value and it’s unclear if she had more probing questions for the couple — or if it even occurred to her that there’s something amiss with this mindset
In the midst of their own retelling, they can’t seem to help but make caricatures of themselves, steeped in a sort of narcissism only those who’ve been trained to exist in front of a lens (Harry because of his royalty, Meghan because of her profession) can embody.
If the Sussexes were even slightly reasonable, they could benefit from the example of the vapid, sad life to which the Windsors were reduced. But while the Windsors ended life as a somewhat tragic old couple, the Sussexes, with their narcissism, tone deafness and provocation of a monarchy and respected around the world, risk a legacy of even greater hostility.
‘Goodness me, what he said about his brother, you have to wonder… what is William thinking this morning?’
‘Somehow, the show—which has had little new to say up until this point—managed to eek out another three glacially slow episodes.
‘Doubting the cruelty that Harry and Meghan suffered during their time together as members of the royal family—which only worsened once they left—is the wrong takeaway from this story.
‘But when they recount these emotional moments of terror and grief, it’s eclipsed by how much Harry and Meghan make a spectacle of their own story.
‘In the midst of their own retelling, they can’t seem to help but make caricatures of themselves, steeped in a sort of narcissism only those who’ve been trained to exist in front of a lens (Harry because of his royalty, Meghan because of her profession) can embody.
‘I sincerely hope that the worst of their storm is over, and that Harry, Meghan, their kids, and their loved ones can all live out their boring lives unbothered.
‘And I also sincerely hope that this is the last I hear of any of it.’
NBC’s Daisy McAndrew slammed the couple for making no effort to apologize for their role in the breakdown of Harry’s relationship with his family, while CNN’s Max Foster pointed out how one-sided the documentary was.
Fox News columnist Lee Cohen said they are on track to become ‘the most hated royals’ ever and suggested that not even Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor’s connections to Nazis left the public so disappointed.
The Associated Press, universally regarded as the peak of journalistic impartiality, summarized the finale with this headline: ‘Harry, Meghan vent their grievances in final Netflix episodes.’
Even Meghan’s friend Gayle King – who has been effusive in her praise of the couple until now and who attended Meghan’s New York baby shower – said it was the ‘right tac’ that the Royal family isn’t responding, and called the episodes ‘dicey’.
‘Harry and Meghan said all along they wanted to tell their story… but this does sound very dicey.’
NBC’s McAndrew, broadcasting from outside Buckingham Palace, said: ‘I kept thinking, what would William and Kate think about these constant revelations and accusations?
The Washington Post also focused on Harry and Meghan’s allegations against the palace
NBC news was among outlets that seized on the fresh allegations lobbed at the Royal family
Howard Stern slammed the couple for complaining about the intrusion into their lives while putting them on display themselves earlier this week
The criticism crossed borders, with Spanish newspaper El Pais running this column this week
The Associated Press, universally regarded as the peak of journalistic impartiality, summarized the finale with this headline: ‘Harry, Meghan vent their grievances in final Netflix episodes’
‘It’s very often when you have a family row, if you want to try to patch it up, you’ll take some responsibility. There was nothing of that from Harry and Meghan from how perhaps they might take a little responsibility of how things have gone wrong.
‘There can be very little coming back. All these accusations about William behaving badly, William shouting and screaming, William being unkind to his brother.’
She added that Harry’s relationship with King Charles III ‘got worse today’.
Kier Simmons, another NBC reporter, said: ‘Goodness me, what will William be thinking this morning?’
In the TODAY show studio, host Hoda Kotb refrained from giving her assessment of Harry and Meghan’s comments, but she did point out the series was knocked off the number one most watched spot by the Addams Family series, Wednesday.
‘It’s not in the number one slot. It’s in the number two slot. Wednesday is in the number one slot!’ she said.