Animal Kingdom. A Freaking Rollercoaster I Can’t Get Off.

I feel nuts. I haven’t written anything in so long it’s making me crazy. Come on, Annabelle, that’s not the reason.

I just finished binge-watching five freaking seasons of Animal Kingdom. And no—not Mutual of Omaha’s WILD Kingdom—the show from ancient times. And no—not the Disney show either. It’s the TNT drama.

Be bloody aware—it’s like you’re a lion ripping-into-a-fresh-kill addicting.

I couldn’t turn it off! That’s not true, I turned it off many times to sleep and work, but I also occasionally had to grab the remote and press stop just because I was so stressed out.

Set in Oceanside California in a surfing community, location aside, the show reminds me a bit of the Sopranos in that it’s compelling family drama surrounding crime, thievery, murder, and intrigue. And sex. And drugs. And scary shit about to happen all the time. Oh, God, what’s going to happen now!

The sex is interesting—and what I mean by that is there is a lot of it, including gay sex, but you never see any boobs. After detecting this peculiar pattern, I made sure to look for the creatures, but no—I never saw the front of a woman’s body. What I did see was a lot of backsides. From both men and women, but men in particular. Lots and lots of that. Lots of walking around nude and showering off. (Ahem. All nicely shot, in an extremely good way). TNT must have some reason for this particular decision. Maybe they believe boobs would make the show too mature for TV. But I got tell you, TNT and all you crazy corporate censors—having no boobage in the show is not your biggest PG-13 problem. Everything else is.

I can’t tell you how many times my jaw dropped, and eyes popped, or how often I found myself kind of hiding in the pillows, cringing with the dog as I waited for the next shoe to drop. The show Does Not Let Up.

Again to the Sopranos reference, I felt that show lingered longer with the characters and delved deeper into relationships and psychiatry. It was a tad intellectual, whereas Animal Kingdom is just a fucking street fight, over and over and over again. The energy of the show is astounding. Just watch the opening credits and view the gritty imagery. Pain. Pleasure. Living full out. Sex. Violence. Love. But twisted love. It’s titled Animal Kingdom because they’re all animals.

I kicked George out of the bedroom for two weeks as my lead grew on episodes-under-the-belt. I didn’t want him to see where the show was, and I HAD TO WATCH IT. I could not stop, sometimes until 5 am. But it got into my brain, and I realized I had a problem when I started dreaming about the show—like it was my life. Or when I found myself worried about shit during the day and realized it was the freaking show and no one was going to show up and murder me. Maybe George. But that’s separate.

The actors. I’ll pause to swoon here for a moment. Handsome, devilishly handsome men here! Candy to the eye and, ah, heart. And all terrific actors. Ellen Barkin plays a full-out evil character and I think the show begins extensive backstory on her character, Smurf, somewhere in season 4. We learn how Smurf became Smurf.

The show is based on a true story surrounding a Melbourne Australia-based family named the Pettingill’s. The Smurf—or mom in the Pettingill family—had ten kids. And crime—including robbery and murder—was the family business.

I watched the first four seasons on Amazon Prime free but then they wanted to charge me for Season 5. I didn’t pause for one second making that purchase. Like I was going to wait? Are you kidding me? And now I’m crying because it’s over. But there will be a Season 6, which is touted to be the final season. OMG.

The show—or the dead stale air of my real existence—or the void of no new episodes—will now propel me to do research on the Pettingill family. And check the Twitter boards for fan pages for the TNT drama. And watch YouTube interviews. And follow some actors on Insta. I’m coming for you, Ben Robson. Is this me? Is this who I’ve become?

Watch this show. Unless you’re too much of a #$@! %.

Sorry. My cursing quotient has ramped up too. And the texture of it. And the gritty rawness of the day, and the heat and smell of the earth, and the blood, and sweat, and pain . . .

Or to quote from the incredible movie Talladega Nights: Real simple, son… cops are coming, there’s a kilo of Colombian bam-bam under the car. Time to be a man. You got hair on your peaches or what?

The Cody Family is waiting for you.

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