by James Wallace Harris, Friday, June 12, 2020
What if you could be young again for one day? What would you do with that day? Bloom a 2019-2020 television series from Australia on Hulu explores that very question. Bloom has two seasons of six episodes each.
I don’t want to give spoilers, but the show is about a small town in Australia where a few people discover the magical properties of a strange plant. They become young again. The rules of this fountain of youth are not explicitly explained in the story, but whatever they were in season one changes again significantly for the second season.
Think about what you would do if you could take a magic potion and have your body transformed into your younger self. Picture a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation, but instead of becoming a hairy monster, you become wrinkle-free and beautiful. In Bloom, most of the characters’ first impulse is to have sex. That reminds me of the science fiction novel, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi where the characters undergo another kind of rejuvenation process and immediately get horny. Is procreation our strongest urge? Wasn’t that also true in the old 1985 film Cocoon?
I was never that lucky at getting laid when I was young, thin, and had hair, so I have hard time believing these characters hook up so quickly. Other than that doubt, and finding the basic premise unbelievable, Bloom is quite compelling and even grittily realistic.
Ray Reed (Bryan Brown) has been married to Gwen Reed (Jacki Weaver/Phoebe Tonkin) for over fifty years, but for the last four years, Ray only knows Gwen’s body, because her mind has left them. We see the two Gwens in the photo above. Their story is the major thread, but there are several other old/young characters we follow too, including a criminal who befriends a young boy in an effort to be the father he regrets never being to his own son.
I binge-watched the six episodes of the first season over two nights because I found the story quite addictive. I’ve slowed down in the second season, where the setup has changed significantly. Season one ends with everything wrapped up, and season two begins by unwrapping everything. I assume because the original idea was used up and they needed to rethink their concept after getting the go-ahead for a second season.
But let’s get back to the philosophical question; What would you do with a second youth? The characters in the show are driven by physical impulses and regrets, but is that all that drives us? And if regained youth is only for a short period, I imagined food and sex are great short term pursuits, but how else could those few magical hours be spent. You certainly wouldn’t waste them on television. (So why do we watch so much television when we’re young?)
How could I make the most of that regained vitality if I had the chance?. I believe the writers struggled with that question too. That’s why the second season seems to be more about how to extend that time in paradise regained. Being young seems to be its own goal.
I can’t answer the title question, but it does make me ask another question: What does it mean to get old? Aging is more than getting wrinkled, hair loss, and having the Johnson quit saluting. There is an ineffable change of consciousness. Because we’re watching a TV show we focus only on the changes we can see, but suddenly being young again would be like snorting coke or dropping acid — it must ignite the brain. They used to have a silly phrase, “high on life” that I think applies here. There are moments in the show where that comes across, especially in the first episode where Sam runs down the main street shedding his clothes.
But there’s a Catch-22 problem. Evidently, it’s always young and foolish, or old and wise.
2 thoughts on “What If You Could Be Young Again for One Day?”
James, if you will vouchsafe reminiscence. I am 76 years old. When I was a young man of, let’s pick 20, I was an independent millionaire through an unusual stroke of luck. Not many adults were millionaires back then, let alone kids. I stood slightly over six feet, with a fine, slim physique, which girls compared to the David statue, and I wasn’t bad looking. Beautiful young girls literally lined up awaiting their turns to stay with me at my lake estate, with a bunch of servants waiting on us, like a miniature Downton Abbey. I took in three girls at a time. Getting laid was quotidian.
Fast forward 50 some-odd years. I have been extremely depressed following my wife’s death a little more than three years ago. My wife was and is my everything. During my marriage I was true to her but noticed young girls. I promised my wife I would never entertain a new significant other, and I haven’t even dated once in the conventional sense.
But I indulged in party activity and sex with about 15 young girls over those three years, ranging in age from nineteen to 35. I found no difference in my performance capacity from when I was sixteen or twenty, even though I drug and drink heavily every day. Not a touch of ED ever.
But the most remarkable thing is the young girls tell me I am good looking, in face and body, not just for my age, but for any age, they say. A 22-year-old said I am today better looking than Muhammad Ali was in his prime. Another said the same thing compared to Michael Flatley in his prime, who I thought was the most charismatic looking guy ever.
I took these girls to the same city restaurants I took girls to who 55 years ago were the same ages as the current girls. When we dine and I look across the table at these young beauties, it feels as though time has stood still. But recently I only go out with one girl, who is 23 years old, but was 21 when I first met her. All my life I carried an ideal in my mind of what the quintessential girl would look like. One day I saw her at the gym. It felt preternatural when she approached me for a date. She is extremely intelligent as well. Being with her is having snagged the brass ring on the carousel. There is nothing left to achieve. She is the last bucket list item. I’ve had everything, traveled everywhere, and done everything, including played golf at Pebble Beach on a perfect day. 🙂 I’m ready to die.
As I mentioned, my relationships with the young girls was not conventional dating. There could be no future with any of them, and I wouldn’t countenance any, because I am eternally my wife’s guy. Just as it is with the last one I entertain now, it is matter of being in the moment. And the moments won’t go on much longer. But for me, I am young again, I did go home again, albeit at a great cost.
Except for your wife dying before you, Covert, you are one lucky guy. You have money, looks, and no ED at 76, which means you don’t have clogged arteries, which means you could have years of healthy life in you left. I don’t think you should be so ready to die. I can’t believe you’ve done everything. I can’t believe you can’t find more to do. Your depression is clouding your judgment. Get some help. Be patient, you never know what will turn up that will ignite your fascination again.