For Millennials. By Millennials.
Netflix’s ‘You’ had great charm with a stellar main cast in Penn Badgley being the main lead as Joe Goldberg. Victoria Pedretti’s addition as Love Quinn in season 2 definitely elevated the show due to her brilliant acting skills. Along with it, ‘You’ made sure to have a great secondary cast of characters as well. We had Peach (Shay Mitchell) in season 1, Delilah (Carmela Zumbado), Ellie (Jenna Ortega), and Forty (James Scully) in season 2. And then in season 3, we had plenty like Dante (Ben Mehl), Theo (Dylan Arnold) and Matthew Engler (Scott Speedman). But our focus today is the most popular couple in Madre Linda, Sherry (Shalita Grant) and Cary Conrad (Travis Van Winkle).
Sherry and Cary Conrad became a fan favorite, and rightfully so. But it took some time to get there
At the start, we are initially introduced to a narcissistic and egotistic couple. The Conrads. They think they have hacked out the perfect life style with adorable twins, low body-fat, Sherry’s mom-fluencing, and Cary’s sensitive yet strong masculinity. Sherry is mostly concerned with followers and likes. Meanwhile, Cary is just too hyper obsessed about the fitness lifestyle.
Both Joe and Love Goldberg look at them and scoff at how pretentious they are. But Love also wants to fit in the suburban life. Undoubtedly, the best way to do that is befriending the most popular mom, Sherry Conrad. Despite their flawed friendship, the two manage to trust each other at some level.
Apparently, Sherry trusts Love so much that she reveals that she and Cary are an in open marriage. Not only that, but the Conrads actually want to have swinging night with the Goldbergs. Something that appeals to Love, because she’s already feeling torn about her life. Meanwhile, Joe only agreed to it to satisfy Love. In order to make sure she doesn’t find out about his latest crush on Marienne (Tati Gabrielle).
But as they are having a sexual night and Sherry and Joe are having sex, Love realizes that Joe is thinking about another woman. A woman who is neither Love or Sherry. She calls out the safe word and gets them to stop. Then Love confronts Joe about there being yet another one of woman that Joe is obsessed with.
During the heated argument, Love blurts out how she murdered Natalie Engler (Michael McNamus). Because Joe was having an affair with her. And the Conrads end up hearing it. Consequently, Joe and Love lock up the Conrads in their psycho cage in the Bakery’s basement.
And that’s when we get to find out who Sherry and Cary really are. A better couple than you thought
If you’re trapped in a scary basement with your spouse, things are bound to get a little chaotic. As Sherry and Cary try to keep it together, we find out that they have many ways to ensure their relationship stays in tact. They’re communicative, open, honest and vulnerable with each other. When one of them feels a certain way, they have code words for expressing it by using “green flag” or “purple flag”. Cary tries to meditate in order to stay calm, much to Sherry’s disapproval who is trying to convince Love she’s still her friend. Sherry is trying to help her with her son’s admission process to a prestigious pre-school. Just like she normally would, if not trapped in a glass cage with her husband.
They’re in an impossible situation but desperately trying to make it work.
But things take a crazy turn when an evil Love gives them a gun and says that she’ll let out whoever lives:
Well, if your marriage is so perfect, stay together. Die together.
Then Cary tries to use the gun to escape the bullet-proof cage, mind you. Of course, things go wrong when the bullet accidentally cuts off part of Sherry’s ear.
Cary is obviously devastated and trying to care for her ear but she’s having trust issues at this point. Then things become sort of equal when Sherry uses the gun on Cary (just to graze his leg). But ends up shooting him directly at the leg.
Eventually, Cary lets Sherry patch up his wounds and the two find each other again. They reminisce on how they fell in love, with Cary saying how much he loves all version of Sherry. Cary also admits that Sherry is smarter than him and he is perfectly fine with it.
The two don’t give up on each other as they find out why they actually fell in love with each other. And it’s beautiful to see how a couple, when put in an impossible life-threatening situation, actually attempt to connect to each other again and fight for their lives as a team.
It’s a great message to send out that you never truly remain just one person and your partner shouldn’t be afraid of it but rather embrace it and love it.
Something that Joe and Love could never do because they always had dark secrets hidden from each other. They never attempted to look inside themselves and fix what was wrong, but the Conrads are different. They are focused on the best and optimized lifestyle, and that means fixing themselves too.
And it tells the audience a lot about how marriages work, the ones that last anyway.
Sherry Conrad also gives the perfect advice to Love when she’s confused about the soulmate theory:
The whole soul mate thing is mostly bullshit. You choose your soul mate. Cary and I, we had some fundamental problems. I didn’t even like him for a while, but I decided he was my person, and I made it work. Love is mostly chemicals, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin; to activate all three, exercise, eat some protein, and squeeze in eight hugs a day. When you’re happy and healthy, then you can make real choices, and that includes choosing your life mate.”
And the showrunner Sera Gamble shared that this was intentional, and that she always wanted the Conrads to survive.
“I think of [Sherry and Cary] as a fun mirror of the other marriage. We thought that by the end of the season Sherry and Cary will also be in a form of couple’s therapy that is a lot more intense. Because they are in a cage and they might die at any moment … And We see them through Joe’s eyes. We see them through the audience’s eyes. There’s a lot of stuff about them that is pretty privileged and clueless, but they’re awesome. We all wanted them to live.”
A therapist and podcast host, Harouni Lurie, shared how she loved the portrayal of a healthy marriage. And how it was much more realistic than your typical Hollywood stereotype of ‘fated’ love:
“So much of what we are sold through the media, Hollywood, Disney, is that we are ‘fated’ to be with someone, that they will ‘complete’ us, and that if a relationship is the right relationship, it will be easy. What that leaves out is the fact that we choose our partners, and that we continue to choose them every day we choose to be in a relationship with them and actively work for it.”
One of the ways the Conrads made it work was a healthy polyamory and open marriage
Many of us are only used to seeing monogamous relationships and marriages in our society but there’s a polyamory trend going on and it’s rarely presented the right way on our screens. However, the Conrads gave a really healthy and important portrayal of how open marriages can work.
In fact, not only they make your marriage more interesting but it can add more love for you and your partner. I got to hear of a word called ‘percursion’, the idea that you get pleasure from seeing your partner have a sexual and intimate relationship with another person.
One fan shared on Twitter:
A polyamorous bisexual couple that sets boundaries and communicates openly about their desires and limitations. And it isn’t treated like a kink but a genuine way to maintain a partnership. @YouNetflix really provided us this incredible representation through Sherry and Cary.
Plus, it should be mentioned that the acting done by Shalita Grant and Travis Van Winkle truly made the Conrads much more perfect
There exists bad casting! But thankfully, every choice of Netflix’s ‘You’ has been the right one. Shalita Grant and Travis Van Winkle grab the viewer’s attention in every scene they’re in. Even when you’re completely annoyed with their holier-than-thou attitude in the beginning episodes of ‘You’ season 3, you can’t help but be in awe of them.
Grant and Winkle have perfect chemistry with each other which make the Conrads couple even the more appealing. When in the last episodes you fall in love with the character development of Conrads, you see how you can never judge anyone by just one version of them.
Their effortless acting and raw emotions that they pour into the cage scenes puts you on the edge of your seat. Of course, you’re worried about Joe and Love’s child, Henry. But you’re also terrified that the toxic evilness of the Goldbergs might lead to a loss of the most iconic couple you’ve seen so far.
Thankfully, the Conrads survive and use their cage experience as a way to tell other couples a new form of radical therapy. They can turn every experience, no matter how bad, into an opportunity. Sherry and Cary show us what a good couple is like, the one that makes an effort in their relationship. The one that truly loves, respects, admires each other and supports each other no matter what.
One fan expressed a need for a prequel of ‘You’ where we see who the Conrads were before Cary’s 6% body-fat and Sherry’s mom-fluencing. And personally, it would be so great to see.