We’ve been hearing about it for some time now. Well, it was at least since the filming started and we had friends and family call us. Living outside of Chicago now, we don’t see much of back home, but we certainly do hear about it.
Not since Silver Linings Playbook had my wife’s and my home been abuzz with the goings-on of Hollywood. Sure, M. Night Shyamalan films in the Philadelphia area and Bradley Cooper is from there, but still. Then HBO goes there to produce a crime-drama with actress, Kate Winslet, in the lead role and films it quite literally in the areas my wife and I used to inhabit: Delaware County, Pennsylvania (known by the locals as “Delco”).
Mare of Easttown is a gritty crime drama set in the fictional town of… yeah, Easttown, Pennsylvania (or PA for short… pronounced “Pee-Ay”). From the show, I can say that they modeled the town to be part Phoenixville (which is not actually in Delaware County) and part Chichester area. Partly nestled on the Delaware River and partly in the foothills of the Poconos, the show mixed many areas from where my wife and I grew up to create the quintessential Delco town. The finale was released not long ago when we finally sat down to watch the show.
Don’t get me wrong, the show is good — VERY good, but I have to admit that it was surreal in many ways that we did and didn’t expect.
I am from Ridley. My wife is from the Chichester area. Both are areas either directly mentioned on the show or were displayed through the exterior shots of the show. Sure, we’ve lived in Chicago now for over a decade, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are in many ways still pretty “Delco” as one would say. And if you want to know what it is like to be Delco, then definitely watch the show.
Seeing places that we’ve driven by before was one thing, but then hearing references such as Evan Peters’s character, Detective Colin Zabel, having a 15-year reunion for the Ridley High School Raiders set me on my heels (not much of a spoiler, so relax). Ridley was my family’s high school where both my parents and my brothers and I all graduated. Then there’s the exterior shot of the church which was literally around the corner from where my wife grew up that set her on her heels. These (and many many more) added a surreal atmosphere from which we watched the show. And that was only but a small part. We felt almost transported back to home.
The acting in the show was exceptional. We were enthralled by how well the show portrayed being Delco. Delaware County is the epicenter, but the whole surrounding area south and west of Philly between there and Wilmington, Delaware, and Phoenixville south has that vibe. There’s a way of life, of speech, of being that is Delco that’s just a little removed from Philly. Mare of Easttown captured it with amazing clarity. Even the way the houses looked inside reminded us of home. There were scores of small details and comments made and other things that we can point to in the show that just fit perfectly.
It was weird watching a show like that, a show that connects so much of an area that is a deep part of your life. Much like us, it is the way a whole portion of the population who watched the show felt — as news of how amazingly accurate the show was in portraying the area was constant from home. Delco is home (even though Chicago is where we feel connected to now), and Mare of Easttown captured home in a way I didn’t expect. The writers and producers and actors, and Kate herself, did a phenomenal job. I count myself as impressed.