Look, I get why Wattpad exists. It caters to a big audience. *imagine this narration in Vanessa Hudgens’ voice for the rest of the paragraph* I get it, I respect it. Even if no one wants to admit they used to read Wattpad, a lot of us did, which is terrible, but…inevitable?
HOWEVER, it is absolutely appalling that Wattpad fanfiction has found itself into the Netflix domain. One fanfic-turned-movie I could deal with, and that’s After, because everyone already knows its context so you know to avoid it (or at least are able to watch it ironically). The Kissing Booth was my last straw, or so I thought until I watched A travės de mi ventana (Spanish for ‘through my window’), which has frankly driven me over the edge and made me want to jump out of mi own ventana. It is simply a crime to pair preteen Wattpad heteronormative fantasy with Netflix. It’s like saying Rihanna should have a baby with Jacob Sartorius instead.
Imagine: you are Spanish, someone learning Spanish, or you simply want to treat yourself to an innocent little foreign language teen film on an obscure Friday night. You have exhausted Élite and La Casa de Papel (these are great series, by the way, and actually worth the watch), so your heart smiles aplenty when you bechance a new Spanish film on your Netflix front page.
*Warning: spoilers ahead*
You click into the film, and discover that the main character is so enamored with the boy next door that her WiFi password is literally “Ar£s Greek G0d” in Spanish. To balance out her being a stalker, Ares Greek God also takes a leaf out of a certain vampire’s book, making the incredibly rational decision to break and enter into said stalker’s house. Naturally, these two underage felons are so riddled with lust that they go through the bases backwards. And then, despite him being a #player #alphamale #badboy, they fall in love (?!)
Of course his rich family disapprove (and of course a five-person family living in a mansion with multiple house staff is located right next door to a single mum with a teenager), so there’s a scene where #badboy Ares lies face down in a pool like a Sim you’re trying to drown and, because he nearly dies, his family suddenly decides to stop being classist (?!?!) Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning curves, but this was all so abrupt that it felt like UCL announcing the third strike of the term.
This description isn’t even the half of it, but I will spare you the film’s Tom nooks and Danny crannies. I must admit, though, that around 40 minutes into the film when I confirmed my suspicions in discovering through Wikipedia that it was indeed based on a Wattpad story, I employed the same mindset shift as I did with After and started watching it as a comedy instead. A splendid satire, perhaps a visual version of what someone might send to the UCL Cheese Grater Humour section. After that, it was positively hilarious and I was much less filled with existential dread.
That said, I still think that, not unlike the existence of animal milk, Netflix adaptations of Wattpad tales should be permanently abolished. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
This piece appeared in CG Issue 82