How Daisy Jones & The Six ruined Daisy Jones
By Nimra Amir, April 14 2023—
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers to the show Daisy Jones & The Six.
The Amazon Prime limited series Daisy Jones & The Six adapted from the Taylor Jenkin Reid bestselling novel officially concluded on March 24. The series, like the novel, does chronicle the grand rise and the even grander fall of the 1970s rock band — reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac — through documentary-style interviews. But the series, unlike the novel, does not chronicle the grand fall and even the grander rise of bandmates like Daisy Jones.
The audience is introduced to brothers Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) and Graham Dunne (Will Harrison) who form a band called The Dunne Brothers with their childhood friends Warren Rhodes (Sebastian Chacon), Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse) and Chuck Loving (Jack Romano).
After finding local success, the band, now called The Six, with the addition of new bandmate Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse) moved to Los Angeles where they met their manager, the world-renowned, Teddy Price (Tom Wright). But after coming so close to finding international success, Billy, who struggles with substance abuse after being overwhelmed by his recent marriage to Camila Alvarez (Camila Morrone) and impending fatherhood, is sent to a rehabilitation facility.
It’s when Billy returned to the band that Price introduced them to the free-spirited singer-songwriter Daisy Jones (Riley Keough). Together, they found international success by releasing their hit single “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb).”
When Jones is introduced in the novel, she is a tortured artist who comes to learn that she can be an artist without being tortured, but when Jones is introduced in the series, she is a tortured artist who comes to help Billy learn that he can be an artist without being tortured. After releasing the hit “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb),” when Jones and Billy are in the process of writing the album Aurora, Jones helps Billy with how to write not only about the perfect parts of his life, like his relationship to his wife, but also the ugly parts of his life, like his struggle with substance abuse or his adulterous relationship to her. Of course, while she, in free-spirited nature, is breaking into houses and jumping into pools to inspire Billy against his now boring life.
Even though, like in the novel, at the beginning of the series, Jones says “I’m not interested in being anybody’s muse,” she becomes Billy’s muse and unfortunately, that is all she becomes.
Jones also struggles with substance abuse and while on tour, she overdoses. In the novel, Jones has the strength to save herself and change her own life after she wakes up alone in the bathtub where her husband left her. But in the series, Jones is saved by Billy who changes her life after finding her left alone in the bathtub. Jones is just not allowed to become anything outside of Billy’s muse.
Throughout the rest of the series, Jones is infatuated with her adulterous relationship with Billy who stays with Alvarez. But just before Alvarez passes from a terminal illness, she says to Billy through documentary-style interviews to pursue Jones and in the final scene, he does. In the novel, Jones has the strength to realize that she does not need to torture herself with her love for Billy to be an artist. But in the series, Jones continues to torture herself with her love for Billy by being there for him whenever he wants, even years later.
In this sense, a once complex character who goes through her own character arc just becomes another example of the manic pixie dream girl, a term coined by writer Nathan Rabin when describing Kirsten Dunst’s character in the 2005 movie Elizabethtown, as a female lead who exists primarily to bring the male lead through his character arc. Interestingly enough, movie critics have described Zooey Deschanel’s character in the 2009 movie 500 Days of Summer as another example of the manic pixie dream girl — and Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who wrote the screenplay for 500 Days of Summer, also adapted Daisy Jones & The Six.
Although Daisy Jones & The Six does chronicle the 1970s rock band by capturing the very chaos that led to the grand rise and the even grander fall of the band, it does not chronicle the bandmates like Jones. To do so, the series would need to capture the very chaos that led to her grand fall but then the very strength that led to her grander rise.