I Don’t Know
Episode 1 of Little Voice begins with a stray piece of paper floating down to the ground lazily, reading the words “I Don’t know.” Snatching it up, Bess uses this as a basis of writing song lyrics which follow her through the day.
Midway through practicing, Bess’ new neighbour Ethan arrives and complements her singing after asking for an extension lead. Together, they sit and talk about her singing, in particular a moment that saw her get heckled from the crowd in the past and something that’s been hanging over her ever since.
Bess cuts their conversation short though when she’s distracted by her brother Louie who happens to have snuck off to try and get Sharon Clifford’s signature. After establishing her family set-up, Bess heads back home believing she doesn’t have the raw talent, turning away from her passions and back to dog walking and music teaching.
That evening, Bess works behind the bar with Benny until Ethan arrives. After an incident involving the band, Bess decides to use her initiative(and an opportunity to show off to Ethan) and heads up on stage to perform her original song. After taking an age to get going, she receives a call and almost talks herself off-stage. Midway through singing though, the pressure is just too much and she caves.
Hearing Ethan has a girlfriend after all this is the final nail in the coffin for Bess and she leaves. Visiting her busking Father down in the subway, he tells her to use the fear and doubt she’s feeling to work on her song, which is where the episode ends.
With a heavy dose of on-the-nose exposition and some weak motivation to begin with, Little Voice gets off to a quaint and pretty indifferent start. All of the issues Bess currently faces essentially boil down to a couple of hecklers in the crowd and it does feel like a bit of a stretch to believe she’d give up all her dreams for that.
It also doesn’t help that Bess completely sabotages herself with how unprofessional she is on stage; talking to the crowd before singing a single song and keeping her phone on loud both feel like pretty good ways of keeping those heckles going. However, it does pose an interesting question surrounding whether there may be something more going on. We’ll have to wait and see!