Undone, a genre-bending, animated series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (of BoJack Horseman fame), explores the perception of reality through its central character - Alma (Rosa Salazar). The story starts off with the aftermath of a car crash that almost kills Alma. After this incident, she develops a unique relationship with time and starts seeing her dead father (Bob Odenkirk), who guides her and often puzzles her throughout the story. The creators of the series show these fierce emotions through a unique technique called ‘Rotoscoping’, where animators paint over the performances of flesh-and-blood actors using a variety of art styles. This, makes the show feel like it is juggling between reality and a dream state, making you constantly question if any of it is real at all. This combination of the two worlds (fantasy and reality) is crucial as the show is deeply rooted in the emotional realities of its characters.
The show has a similar theme as that of ‘Bojack’. In both these shows, the protagonists constantly feel that their surrounding is being affected by them, often declaring themselves as ‘broken’. This, in turn, affects their personal relationships with the people around them. The show tries to depict what a person with mental illness goes through and aims to give us a strong emotional connect with Alma and her experiences.
Alma’s journeys are reflections of her everyday life as a young Mexican-Jewish woman suffering from various traumas - her mental illness, a cochlear implant, a dead parent, a job at a day-care center, and a partner who just doesn’t get it. Undone fully integrates its genre elements and various hot topics into the story’s structure. Alma’s quest to assist her dad becomes difficult to separate from the question of whether she can be present in her own life.
The show beautifully brings into light that everything we see is an interpretation of our brain and our mental filters and that there is no absolute truth while providing more character development from other perspectives. This is flawlessly presented to us in the show’s ambiguous ending. It is not to deprive the audience of the correct solution, but it leaves us emotionally connected to Alma- we, similar to her want these fantastical elements to be true. We would like her to own these surreal powers, rather than being an everyday person dealing with serious trauma and mental disorders.
All in all, the show deserves more attention, for its ability to so exquisitely narrate a tale dealing with difficult topics, while also captivating the audience.